Industrial fires and explosions happen and they have serious consequences. In 2014 alone, “accidents in the U.S. chemical and processing industries resulted in 85 fatalities and more than 600 serious injuries". But we rarely hear about them.
The Institution of Chemical Engineers, a professional membership organization, surveyed media coverage of explosions, fires and other incidents in the U.S. last year. The analysis found 228 separate incidents in chemical manufacturing and a number of related industries, “many of these incidents commanded just a few column inches, but there are 75 reports that detail fatalities," said Andy Furlong, the group's policy director.
So… out of sight, out of mind? It shouldn't be. Not when it comes to safety of your people & your process. Just because we aren't reading or hearing about them in the media doesn't mean they aren't happening. Each one of these explosions is an example of a grim human tragedy that could have been avoided, had the appropriate safety arrangements been in place.
We have seen this time and again with customers who weren't properly protected or had the wrong technology in place. They put it off because "they haven't had a problem yet" or "it’s not in their budget", protecting your workers and facility should always be in your plans.
One of our customers wanted to monitor the flammability of their process exhaust stream going into its incinerator. The stream is of varying energy content and has solvent loads that can change rapidly in a matter of minutes. Danger is present when the inlet stream to the incinerator suddenly gets rich enough to ignite or explode. They wanted to prevent this from happening. They needed an analyzer that could measure their wide range of chemicals, as well as highly corrosive compounds like methyl chloride. They were searching for a Hastelloy constructed analyzer to handle this harsh environment.
After a three year investigation into of all the technologies available, they went with a flammability analyzer. However, due to budgeting concerns they did not protect all of their RTO's. What do you think happened? An explosion. They eventually ended up placing an order for additional analyzers.