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New video from CSB explores BP Texas City disaster, provides safety tips (3/21)

March 21, 2008
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Three years after the explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 180 others at the BP Texas City refinery, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released a new, comprehensive safety video that describes the causes of the accident and key safety lessons.

The 56-minute video, “Anatomy of a Disaster: Explosion at BP Texas City Refinery,” is available for viewing in the Video Room of the CSB's Web site, www.Safetyvideos.gov. DVDs of the video will be provided at no charge through the online request form at www.CSB.gov.

The accident occurred on March 23, 2005, during the startup of the BP Texas City Refinery's octane-boosting isomerization unit, when a distillation tower and attached blowdown drum were overfilled with flammable liquid hydrocarbons. Because the blowdown drum vented directly to the atmosphere, a geyser-like release of flammable liquid formed a vapor cloud that spread rapidly through the area. A diesel pickup truck that was idling nearby ignited the vapor, initiating a series of explosions and fires that swept through the unit and the surrounding area.

The safety video includes a new nine-minute 3-D computer animation of the sequence of events that led to the explosion. The video also describes BP's safety culture, the human factor safety issues that contributed to the accident, and the importance of safe equipment design and trailer siting.

In the video, CSB Board Member William Wright discusses the board's safety recommendations from the accident and key safety lessons from the board's investigation.

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