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Williams Olefins Plant Explosion and Fire
FINAL REPORT: Williams Olefins Case Study
Location: Geismar, LA
Accident Occurred On: 06/13/2013
Final Report Released On: 10/19/2016
Accident Type: Chemical Manufacturing - Fire and Explosion

statistics

Total # of Recommendations
5
Total # of Open Recommendations
5
Total # of Closed Recommendations
0
Total % of Open 100 vs. Closed 0

investigation information

Image
Accident Description
A fire and explosion occurred on Thursday June 13, 2013, which fatally injured two workers at the William Olefins, Inc., plant located in Geismar, Louisiana.
Investigation Status
The CSB's investigation was released at a news conference in Baton Rouge, LA, on 10.19.2016


 

Recommendations

American Petroleum Institute (API)
2013-3-I-LA-4

To help prevent future major incidents such as a rupture of a pressure vessel in a special operating status, strengthen API Standard 521, Pressure-relieving and Depressuring Systems, by defining the various types of equipment operating statuses. Include definitions for “standby” and “out-of-service.” Specify pressure relief requirements for each type of equipment operating status.

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.
 

2013-3-I-LA-5

To help prevent future major incidents such as pressure vessel rupture from ineffective or failed administrative controls, clarify API Standard 521, Pressure-relieving and Depressuring Systems, to require a pressure relief device for overpressure scenarios where internal vessel pressure can exceed what is allowed by the design code. Although some portions of API Standard 521 already require a pressure relief device for these scenarios, other areas, such as Section 4.4.12 Hydraulic Expansion, are not as protective. Section 4.4.12 Hydraulic Expansion (the failure mode that caused the Williams overpressure incident) permits omitting a pressure relief device and allows the exclusive use of administrative controls.

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.
 

Williams Geismer Olefins Facility
2013-3-I-LA-1
Implement a continual improvement program to improve the process safety culture at the Williams Geismar Olefins Plant. Ensure oversight of this program by a committee of Williams personnel (“committee”) that, at a minimum, includes safety and health representative(s), Williams management representative(s), and operations and maintenance workforce representative(s). Ensure the continual improvement program contains the following elements:
 
a. Process Safety Culture Assessments. Engage a process safety culture subject-matter expert, who is selected by the committee and is independent of the Geismar site, to administer a periodic process safety culture assessment that includes surveys of personnel, interviews with personnel, and document analysis. Consider the process safety culture audit guidance provided in Chapter 4 of the CCPS book Guidelines for Auditing Process Safety Management Systems as a starting point. Communicate the results of the Process Safety Culture Assessment in a report; and
 
b. Workforce Involvement. Engage the committee to (1) review and comment on the expert
report developed from the Process Safety Culture Assessments, and (2) oversee the development and effective implementation of action items to address process safety culture issues identified in the Process Safety Culture Assessment report. 
 
As a component of the process safety culture continual improvement program, include a focus on the facility’s ability to comply with its internal process safety management program requirements. Make the periodic process safety culture report available to the plant workforce. Conduct the process safety culture assessments at least once every five years.
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.
 

2013-3-I-LA-2
Develop and implement a permanent process safety metrics program that tracks leading and lagging process safety indicators. Consider available industry guidance, such as the guidance presented in the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) book Guidelines for Process Safety Metrics and the example metrics provided in the book’s accompanying CD. Design this metrics program to measure the effectiveness of the Williams Geismar Olefins Facility’s process safety management programs. Include the following components in this program:
 
a. Measure the effectiveness of the Williams Geismar Management of Change (MOC)
program, including evaluating whether MOCs were performed for all applicable changes,
the quality of MOC review, and the completeness of the MOC review;
 
b. Measure the effectiveness of the Williams Geismar Pre-Startup Safety Review (PSSR)
program, including the quality of the PSSR review and the completeness of the PSSR
review;
 
c. Measure the effectiveness of the Williams Geismar methods to effectively and timely
complete action items developed as a result of Process Hazard Analyses (PHAs),
Management of Change (MOC), incident investigations, audits, and safety culture
assessments; and
 
d. Measure the effectiveness of the Williams Geismar development and implementation of
operating procedures.
 
Develop a system to drive continual process safety performance improvements based upon the data identified and analysis developed as a result of implementing the permanent process safety metrics program.
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.
 

2013-3-I-LA-3

Develop and implement a program that demands robust and comprehensive assessments of the process safety programs at the Williams Geismar facility, at a minimum including Management of Change, Pre-Startup Safety Review, Process Hazard Analyses, and Operating Procedures. Ensure that the assessments thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of these important safety programs. To drive continual improvement of process safety programs to meet good practice guidance, ensure these assessments result in the development and implementation of robust action items that address identified weaknesses. Engage an expert independent of the Geismar site to lead these assessments at least once every three years.

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.
 

 
 

Related News

Williams1
CSB Releases Final Case Study into 2013 Explosion and Fire at Williams Olefins Plant in Geismar, Louisiana
10/19/2016
Case Study Concludes that Process Safety Management Deficiencies During 12 Years Prior to the Incident Led to the Explosion
read more
Testimony of Rafael Moure-Eraso, Ph.D. Chairperson, U.S. Chemical Safety Board Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works June 27, 2013
6/27/2013
Full Committee hearing entitled, “Oversight of Federal Risk Management and Emergency Planning Programs to Prevent and Address Chemical Threats, Including the Events Leading Up to the Explosions in West, TX and Geismar, LA”
read more

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