Case Name, Disaster of Chemical Plant at Flixborough. Pictograph. Date, June 1, Place, Flixborough, UK. Location, Cyclohexanone oxidation plant. Flixborough. disaster. vapour cloud explosion. cyclohexane. loss prevention. risk assessment J.G. BallAfter the Flixborough Report: do we know the real truth?. 1 June is the 40th anniversary of the Flixborough disaster, The Flixborough Plant before the explosion – official report, TS 84/37/1.
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Case Details > Disaster of Chemical Plant at Flixborough
Mon 26 Jun at It killed 28 people and seriously injured 36 out of a total of 72 people on site at the time. The massive explosion destroyed the plant. As plants have got larger we have moved In area B, there should not be any other hazardous plants or site roads. It found that major projects requiring financial sanction at a high level were generally well-controlled, but for more financially minor modifications repoort was less control and this had resulted in a past history of ‘near-misses’ and small-scale accidents,  few of which could be blamed on chemical engineers.
The Inquiry noted further that “there was no overall control or planning of the design, construction, testing or fitting of the assembly nor was any check made that the operations had been properly carried out”. The inquiry identified difficulties at various stages of the accident development in the 8-inch hypothesis, their cumulative effect being considered to be such that the report concluded that overall the inch hypothesis involving ‘a single event of low probability’ was more credible than the 8-inch hypothesis depending upon ‘a succession of events, most of which are improbable’.
Unconfined vapour cloud explosions had been experienced since the s; by the early s there had been about known incidents, with about 5 more every year. The inquiry sat for flixboorough days in the period September — Februaryand took evidence from over witnesses. The proponent of the 8-inch gasket failure hypothesis responded by arguing that the inch hypothesis had its share of defects which the inquiry report had chosen to overlook, that the 8-inch hypothesis had more in its favour than the report suggested, and that there were important lessons flixborlugh the inquiry had failed to identify:.
After the plant was restarted on April 1st. A major leak of liquid from the reactor circuit caused the rapid formation of a large cloud of flammable hydrocarbon. Nypro’s advisers had flixborougj considerable effort into the 8-inch hypothesis, and the inquiry report put considerable effort into discounting it. Eighteen fatalities occurred in the control room as a result of the windows shattering and the collapse of the roof. But pipe-lines were mostly small, and the amount of flammable gas or liquid on the plant was not usually large.
Around 1, buildings within a mile radius of the site in Flixborough itself and in the neighbouring villages of Burton flixborouyh Stather and Amcotts were damaged, as were nearly in Scunthorpe three miles away ; the blast was heard over thirty miles away in Grimsby and Hull.
The disaster was caused wholly by the coincidence of a number of unlikely errors in the design and installation of a modification.
It was a failure of this plant that led to the disaster. However,  gives a graphical presentation of the raw data overpressure inferred from damage vs distance from explosion source for Flixborough Fig 3.
Flixborough (Nypro UK) Explosion 1st June 1974
During the early hours of New Year’s Daythe sculpture was stolen. We were between editions and cleared as much space as we could to cover it. On the other hand, permission for highly disaater process plants only involves satisfying a technically unqualified local planning committee, which lacks even the most rudimentary powers once the plant goes on stream.
Therefore, the support structure could be provide not enough strength to withstand against bending stress. My other grandfather in Scunthorpe said it blew the front door open.
The company would have to show that “it possesses the appropriate management system, safety philosophy, and competent people, that it has effective methods of identifying and evaluating hazards, that it has designed and operates the installation in accordance with appropriate regulations, standards and codes of practice, that it has adequate procedures for dealing with emergencies, and that it makes use of independent checks where appropriate”.
The site was demolished inalthough the administration block still remains. When the bypass was installed, there was no works engineer in post and company senior personnel all chemical engineers were incapable of recognising the existence of a simple engineering problem, let alone solving it.
The foundations of properties severely damaged by the blast and subsequently demolished can be found on land between the estate and the village, on the route known as Stather Road. The reactors were normally mechanically stirred but reactor 4 had operated without a working stirrer since November ; free phase water could have settled out in unstirred reactor 4 and the bottom of reactor 4 would reach operating temperature more slowly than the stirred reactors. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers.
However, on May 29th, a leak was found on sight glass, and the plant was shut down for repairs. The support of the temporary pipe was a scaffolding structure upon which the pipe rested, without being fastened down.
No calculations were undertaken for the dog-legged shaped line or for the bellows. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A third and final report was issued when the ACMH was disbanded in The explosion also destroyed the oxidation units and neighboring units and caused extensive damage to the rest of the site.
A considerable amount disqster property was destroyed in Flixborough and the surrounding villages, and the explosion was heard over 30 miles away in Grimsby.
Health and Safety Executive. The leaks having been dealt with, early on 1 June attempts began to bring the plant back up to pressure and temperature. We used to have one ship alongside and one or two waiting in the Humber to come up the Trent on the tide.
If the UK public were largely reassured to be told the accident was a one-off and should never happen again, some UK process safety practitioners were less sanguine. After fresh cyclohexane and recycle cyclohexane were scrubbed with water in a cooling scrubber, they were heated in a direct heat exchanger.
Process Safety and Environmental Protection. Eighteen fatalities occurred in the Control Room as a result of the windows shattering and the roof collapsing. The cyclohexane oxidation process was performed in a series of six reactors, each holding about 20tonnes. Inaugural lecture given on 22 February ” PDF.
In order to maintain production, a temporary bypass pipe was installed between the No. The plant, owned by Nypro UK, produced caprolactum, a chemical used in the manufacture of nylon.