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BP America Refinery Explosion
FINAL REPORT: Final Investigation Report
FINAL REPORT: Management of Change
FINAL REPORT: Safety Bulletin: Positive Material Verification
Location: Texas City, TX
Accident Occurred On: 03/23/2005
Final Report Released On: 03/20/2007
Accident Type: Oil and Refining - Fire and Explosion
Company Name: BP

statistics

Total # of Recommendations
26
Total # of Open Recommendations
10
Total # of Closed Recommendations
16
Total % of Open 38 vs. Closed 62

investigation information

Image
Accident Description
At approximately 1:20 p.m. on March 23, 2005, a series of explosions occurred at the BP Texas City refinery during the restarting of a hydrocarbon isomerization unit. Fifteen workers were killed and 180 others were injured. Many of the victims were in or around work trailers located near an atmospheric vent stack. The explosions occurred when a distillation tower flooded with hydrocarbons and was overpressurized, causing a geyser-like release from the vent stack.
Investigation Status
The Board approved its final report by a vote of 5-0 at a public meeting in Texas City on March 20, 2007.


 

Recommendations

American Petroleum Institute (API)
2005-4-I-TX-2

In light of the findings concerning the March 23rd incident at BP's Texas City refinery, revise your Recommended Practice 752, Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Process Plant Buildings or issue a new Recommended Practice to ensure the safe placement of occupied trailers and similar temporary structures away from hazardous areas of process plants. Ensure that the new recommended practice: - Protects occupants from accident hazards such as heat, blast overpressure, and projectiles; - Establishes minimum safe distances for trailers and similar temporary structures away from hazardous areas of process plants; - Evaluates the siting of trailers under a separate methodology from permanent structures, since trailers are more susceptible to damage, are more readily relocated, and likely do not need to be placed near hazardous areas.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-3

Issue a safety alert to your membership to take prompt action to ensure the safe placement of occupied trailers away from hazardous areas of process plants.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-4

Revise API Recommended Practice 521, Guide for Pressure Relieving and Depressurizing Systems to ensure that the guidelines: - Identifies overfilling vessels as a potential hazard for evaluation in selecting and designing pressure relief and disposal systems; - Addresses the need to adequately size disposal drums for credible worse-case liquid relief scenarios, based on accurate relief valve and disposal collection piping studies; - Warns against the use of atmospheric blowdown drums and stacks attached to collection piping systems that receive flammable discharges from multiple relief valves and urges the use of appropriate inherently safer alternatives such as a flare system

Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

2005-4-I-TX-6

Work together to develop two new consensus American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. a. In the first standard, create performance indicators for process safety in the refinery and petrochemical industries. Ensure that the standard identifies leading and lagging indicators for nationwide public reporting as well as indicators for use at individual facilities. Include methods for the development and use of the performance indicators. (CSB2005-04-I-TX-R6A) In the development of each standard, ensure that a. the committees are accredited and conform to ANSI principles of openness, balance, due process, and consensus; b. include representation of diverse sectors such as industry, labor, government, public interest and environmental organizations and experts from relevant scientific organizations and disciplines.

Status: Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response
Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response (O - ARAR) - Response from recipient indicates a planned action that would satisfy the objective of the recommendation when implemented.
 

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2005-4-I-TX-7

Work together to develop two new consensus American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. b. In the second standard, develop fatigue prevention guidelines for the refining and petrochemical industries that, at a minimum, limit hours and days of work and address shift work. (CSB2005-04-I-TX-R7a) In the development of each standard, ensure that the committees a. are accredited and conform to ANSI principles of openness, balance, due process, and consensus; b. include representation of diverse sectors such as industry, labor, government, public interest and environmental organizations and experts from relevant scientific organizations and disciplines.

Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

BP Global Executive Board of Directors
2005-4-I-TX-1

1. Commission an independent panel to assess and report on the effectiveness of BP North America's corporate oversight of safety management systems at its refineries and its corporate safety culture. Provide the panel with necessary funding, resources, and authority - including full access to relevant data, corporate records, and employee interviews - in order to conduct a thorough, independent, and credible inquiry. 2. Ensure that, at a minimum, the panel report examines and recommends any needed improvements to: Corporate safety oversight, including the safe management of refineries obtained through mergers and acquisitions; Corporate safety culture, including the degree to which: - Corporate officials exercise appropriate leadership to promote adherence to safety management systems; - Process safety is effectively incorporated into management decisionmaking at all levels; - Employees at all levels are empowered to promote improved process safety; - Process safety programs receive adequate resources and are appropriately positioned within organizational structures; Corporate and site safety management systems, specifically: - Near-miss reporting and investigation programs; - Mechanical integrity programs; - Hazard analysis programs, management-of-change programs, and up-todate operating procedures for processes with catastrophic potential; - Siting policies for occupied structures near hazardous operating units. 3. Ensure that the panel has a diverse makeup, including an external chairperson; employee representatives; and outside safety experts, such as experts in process safety; experts in corporate culture, organizational behavior, and human factors; and experts from other high-risk sectors such as aviation, space exploration, nuclear energy, and the undersea navy. 4. Ensure that the report and recommendations of the independent panel, which should be completed within 12 months, are made available to the BP workforce and to the public.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-11

1. Appoint an additional non-executive member of the Board of Directors with specific professional expertise and experience in refinery operations and process safety. Appoint this person to be a member of the Board Ethics and Environmental Assurance Committee.

Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

2005-4-I-TX-12

2. Ensure and monitor that senior executives implement an incident reporting program throughout your refinery organization that a. encourages the reporting of incidents without fear of retaliation; b. requires prompt corrective actions based on incident reports and recommendations, and tracks closure of action items at the refinery where the incident occurred and other affected facilities; and c. requires communication of key lessons learned to management and hourly employees as well as to the industry.

Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

2005-4-I-TX-13

3. Ensure and monitor that senior executives use leading and lagging process safety indicators to measure and strengthen safety performance in your refineries.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

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BP Texas City Refinery
2005-4-B-TX-1

Revise the maintenance quality control program to require positive material identification testing or another suitable material verification process for all critical service alloy steel piping components removed and reinstalled during maintenance and inform work crews of special material handling precautions.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-14

1. Evaluate your refinery process units to ensure that critical process equipment is safely designed. At a minimum, a. Ensure that distillation towers have effective instrumentation and control systems to prevent overfilling such as multiple level indicators and appropriate automatic controls. b. Configure control board displays to clearly indicate material balance for distillation towers.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-15

2. Ensure that instrumentation and process equipment necessary for safe operation is properly maintained and tested. At a minimum, a. Establish an equipment database that captures the history of testing, inspections, repair, and successful work order completion. b. Analyze repair trends and adjust maintenance and testing intervals to prevent breakdowns. c. Require repair of malfunctioning process equipment prior to unit startups.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-16

3. Work with the United Steelworkers Union and Local 13-1 to establish a joint program that promotes the reporting, investigation, and analysis of incidents, near-misses, process upsets, and major plant hazards without fear of retaliation. Ensure that the program tracks recommendations to completion and shares lessons learned with the workforce.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-17

4. Improve the operator training program. At a minimum, require a. face-to-face training conducted by personnel with process-specific knowledge and experience who can assess trainee competency, and; b. training on recognizing and handling abnormal situations including the use of simulators or similar training tools.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-18

5. Require additional board operator staffing during the startup of process units. Ensure that hazard reviews address staffing levels during abnormal conditions such as startups, shutdowns, and unit upsets.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-19

6. Require knowledgeable supervisors or technically trained personnel to be present during especially hazardous operation phases such as unit startup.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

2005-4-I-TX-20

7. Ensure that process startup procedures are updated to reflect actual process conditions.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS)
2005-4-I-TX-10

Issue management of change guidelines that address the safe control of the following: a. major organizational changes including mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations; b. changes in policies and budgets; c. personnel changes; d. staffing during process startups, shutdowns and other abnormal conditions.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

JV Industrial Companies
2005-4-B-TX-2

Develop / update the written piping component installation quality control procedure to require positive material identification testing or other suitable verification or tracking process for all alloy steel piping components removed during maintenance.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA)
2005-4-I-TX-3

Issue a safety alert to your membership to take prompt action to ensure the safe placement of occupied trailers away from hazardous areas of process plants.

URGENT!
Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

Download
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
2005-4-I-TX-5

1. Implement a national emphasis program for all oil refineries that focuses on: - The hazards of blowdown drums and stacks that release flammables to the atmosphere instead of to an inherently safer disposal system such as a flare. Particular attention should be paid to blowdown drums attached to collection piping systems servicing multiple relief valves; - The need for adequately sized disposal knockout drums to safely contain discharged flammable liquid based on accurate relief valve and disposal collection piping studies 2. Urge states that administer their own OSHA plan to implement comparable emphasis programs within their respective jurisdictions.

Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

2005-4-I-TX-8

1. Strengthen the planned comprehensive enforcement of the OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. At a minimum: a. Identify those facilities at greatest risk of a catastrophic accident by using available indicators of process safety performance and information gathered by the EPA under its Risk Management Program (RMP). b. Conduct, or have conducted, comprehensive inspections, such as those under your Program Quality Verification (PQV) program at facilities identified as presenting the greatest risk. c. Establish the capacity to conduct more comprehensive PSM inspections by hiring or developing a sufficient cadre of highly trained and experienced inspectors. d. Expand the PSM training offered to inspectors at the OSHA National Training Institute.

Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

2005-4-I-TX-9

2. Amend the OSHA PSM standard to require that a management of change (MOC) review be conducted for organizational changes that may impact process safety including: a. major organizational changes such as mergers, acquisitions, or reorganizations; b. personnel changes, including changes in staffing levels or staff experience; and c. policy changes such as budget cutting.

Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
Open - Unacceptable Response (O - UR) - Recipient responds by expressing disagreement with the need outlined in the recommendation. The Board believes, however, that there is enough supporting evidence to ask the recipient to reconsider.
 

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United Steelworkers of America (USWA)
2005-4-I-TX-6

Work together to develop two new consensus American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. a. In the first standard, create performance indicators for process safety in the refinery and petrochemical industries. Ensure that the standard identifies leading and lagging indicators for nationwide public reporting as well as indicators for use at individual facilities. Include methods for the development and use of the performance indicators.(CSB2005-04-I-TX-R6b) In the development of each standard, ensure that the committees a. are accredited and conform to ANSI principles of openness, balance, due process, and consensus; b. include representation of diverse sectors such as industry, labor, government, public interest and environmental organizations and experts from relevant scientific organizations and disciplines.

Status: Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response
Open - Acceptable Response or Alternate Response (O - ARAR) - Response from recipient indicates a planned action that would satisfy the objective of the recommendation when implemented.
 

Download
2005-4-I-TX-7

Work together to develop two new consensus American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. b. In the second standard, develop fatigue prevention guidelines for the refining and petrochemical industries that, at a minimum, limit hours and days of work and address shift work. (CSB2005-04-I-TX-R7b) In the development of each standard, ensure that the committees a. are accredited and conform to ANSI principles of openness, balance, due process, and consensus; b. include representation of diverse sectors such as industry, labor, government, public interest and environmental organizations and experts from relevant scientific organizations and disciplines.

Status: Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response
Open - Awaiting Response or Evaluation/Approval of Response (O - ARE/AR) - The recipient has not submitted a substantive response, or the evaluation by CSB staff of a response is pending, or the Board has not yet acted on staff recommendation of status.
 

USW Local 13-1
2005-4-I-TX-21

Work with BP to establish a joint program that promotes reporting, investigating, and analyzing incidents, near-misses, process upsets, and major plant hazards without fear of retaliation. Ensure that the program tracks recommendations to completion and shares lessons learned with the workforce.

Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Closed - Acceptable Action (C - AA) - The recipient has completed action on the recommendation. The action taken meets the objectives envisioned by the Board.
 

 
 

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