October 2019

Special Focus: Plant Safety and Environment

Looking back at the Phillips 66 explosion in Pasadena, Texas: 30 years later

October 23, 2019 marks the 30-yr anniversary of a devastating fire and explosion that claimed the lives of 23 workers at a major chemical plant in Pasadena, Texas.

Bloch, K. P., Contributing Writer; Vaughen, B.K., AIChE

October 23, 2019 marks the 30-yr anniversary of a devastating fire and explosion that claimed the lives of 23 workers at a major chemical plant in Pasadena, Texas. That explosion, which occurred at the Phillips 66 Houston Chemical Complex (HCC) on the Houston Ship Channel, helped modernize process safety management (PSM) programs in the U.S. This significant incident removed any doubt that a catastrophic industrial process release could produce severe consequences in a geographic region with a mature regulatory framework. Fig. 1. HDPE loop reactor flow diagram. Industry’s pursuit of safe process design and operation started long before the expl

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