Accident: Arkema Inc. Chemical Plant Fire
Location: Location: Crosby, TX
Accident Occured On: 08/29/2017 | Final Report Released On: 05/24/2018
Accident Type: Chemical Manufacturing - Fire and Explosion
Investigation Status: The CSB's final investigation report was released at a news conference in Houston, Texas, on May 24, 2018
On August 29, 2017, flooding from Hurricane Harvey disabled the refrigeration system at the Arkema plant in Crosby, TX, which manufactures organic peroxides. The following day people within a 1.5 mile radius were evacuated. As the trailers increased in temperature the peroxides spontaneously combusted on August 31. Officials ignited the remaining trailers, on Sunday, September 3, 2017. The evacuation zone was lifted on September 4, 2017.?
Reduce flood risk to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). Ensure that any safeguards for flooding meet independent layer of protection requirements.
Within 18 months, develop a policy requiring that Arkema and its subsidiaries that manufacture organic peroxides or that have processes which involve more than the threshold quantities of highly hazardous chemicals (HHC) periodically (corresponding with PHA cycle), analyze such facilities to determine whether they are at risk for extreme weather events such as hurricanes or floods.
Establish corporate requirements for its facilities that manufacture organic peroxides or that have processes which involve more than the threshold quantities of highly hazardous chemicals (HHC) to ensure that critical safeguards, such as backup power, function as intended during extreme weather events, including hurricanes or floods.
Develop broad and comprehensive guidance to help companies assess their U.S. facility risk from all types of potential extreme weather events. Guidance should address the issues identified in this report and cover actions required to prepare for extreme weather, resiliency and protection of physical infrastructure and personnel during extreme weather, as well as recovery operations following an extreme weather event, where appropriate. Include guidance for each of the following:
• Addressing common mode failures of critical safeguards or equipment that could be caused by extreme weather events, including but not limited to flooding. For flooding scenarios, sufficient independent layers of protection should be available if floodwater heights reach the facility.
• Evaluating facility susceptibility to potential extreme weather events. Relevant safety information such as flood maps should be incorporated as process safety information.
• Involving relevant professional disciplines, including engineering disciplines, to help ensure risk assessments and process hazard analyses are as robust as practicable for any given facility.
Update your emergency operations training using lessons learned from the Arkema incident to help ensure that personnel enforcing evacuation perimeters are not harmed by exposure to hazardous chemical releases. Update existing protocols and revise training curricula to include the use of analytical tools, air monitoring, and personal protective equipment, to provide appropriate protection when emergency equipment or personnel need to be moved through an evacuation zone during a hazardous materials release. Include a process for periodic refresher training.