Runaway reactions are a major source of industrial accidents. They can occur in a wide array of sectors, including chemicals, petrochemicals, food processing, plastics and rubber manufacturing, and metalworking and are primarily caused by a loss of process control. The processes involved are quite diverse, encompassing chemical reaction, polymerisation and distillation, among others. The loss of process control is related with various factors that are examined in this article. Several accidents that occurred in France and recorded in the ARIA1 [...]
The ARIA database on technological accidents lists 26,271 events in French industrial establishments between 1 January 1992 and 31 December 2016. This large sample allows to give some trends on the exposure of the territories (regions, county) to the industrial risk.
A computer attack on an industrial control system (SCI) can cause an accident or a degraded operating mode in a factory. This document, with pedagogical vocation, illustrates through examples extracted from the ARIA database some cases that could lead to this kind of situation. In order to improve the security of the sites, a grid of questions completes the analysis as well as an item on cyber attacks types.
In early March 2017, the ARIA database identified 349 events involving fittings and seals/gaskets. These elements are often encountered on pipe flanges and are also essential sealing components for valves or other equipment. Insufficiently tightened flange bolts and deficient leak inspections on seals/gaskets are often the cause of an accident
Numerous forms of corrosion have been found on steel equipment used in the manufacture or transport of biogas. Three corrosion degradation modes are presented here based on events that occurred in France. It seems that corrosion should be taken into account from the design stage of the installations.
When operating an industrial site, it is essential to research its economic optimisation, though systematic reasoning in terms of the cost/benefit ratio has its limitations! Minimising the risks when the initial signs of aging appear or trying to keep one's equipment going until it eventually falls apart can be very dangerous. And sometimes, the financial consequences of accidents are much higher than the investments related to quality design and regular maintenance. This is illustrated below by several recent events presented in this flash.
The accident can quickly occur when the repair of an ageing equipment is not conducted in a timely manner! Often involved: an improper management of replacement parts, which are not available in due course. Patch-up jobs, consisting in reallocating pieces coming from other units without taking sufficient precautions, can also be particularly dangerous. Based on illustrative events, this flash draws a panorama of risky configurations and provides some good practices.
Ageing of industrial installations is a normal and well-known phenomenon. However, it deserves to be properly managed! Conception or construction defaults, insufficient maintenance are some of the several factors that can contribute to an uncontrolled acceleration of ageing… and that continue to lead to accidents with sometimes heavy consequences. As far as ageing is concerned, anticipation remains the key word! This flash offers an overview of the main degradation mechanisms and some lessons learnt from accidents.
Malicious acts may arise in number of ways within an industrial facility. Such acts may be perpetrated inside the company by a staff member or subcontractor. The notion of industrial facility itself perhaps needs to be broadened, especially in light of the vulnerability of ancillary installations located on city streets (electrical or gas control boxes). Moreover, a computer hacker does not need to physically be on company premises to carry out a malicious act. This fact sheet answers 2 questions : How is the risk of a malicious act manifested [...]
An early analysis of technical or organisational changes often proves to be insufficient, or overlooked altogether, resulting in numerous accidents. In many cases, it is simpler and less costly to use existing installations in order to develop or advance a particular process. Such a step however does require an in-depth analysis of the modifications, combined with an accurate identification of the risks tied to anticipated changes. This fact sheet presents a few examples of accidents before revealing the tools available to enable the successful [...]