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Caprolactam (an intermediate product in the production of nylon) was being manufactured. A temporary 20” NS (DN 500) bypass pipe assembly incorporating expansion joints had been installed around one of the reactors to enable it to be taken off-line to repair a large crack. On the day of the incident (Saturday), while the plant was on hot circulation pending restart, the bypass line ruptured releasing 30 tonnes of hot cyclohexane that formed a flammable cloud and subsequently found an ignition source. A huge unconfined vapour cloud explosion (UVCE) occurred and 28 employees were killed instantly.
Ask yourself and your crew:
- How can something like this happen here (e.g. on our site)?
- What safety measures (i.e. procedures, controls/barriers) do we have in place to mitigate the risk?
- How do we know the risk controls/barriers are working?
- What improvements or changes should we make to the procedures, controls/barriers or the way we work?
Original content courtesy of IChemE Safety Centre