December 2020

Environment and Safety

Applying tools to strengthen safety and risk management

The same characteristics that make hydrocarbons useful as fuels can also make refineries, and any other areas where processing or storage takes place, potentially dangerous.

Pinto, N., Emerson

The same characteristics that make hydrocarbons useful as fuels can also make refineries, and any other areas where processing or storage takes place, potentially dangerous. Those who work in such plants depend on effective safety systems, training and a constant awareness of the potential for harm. This enables many well-run and well-maintained facilities with conscientious people at all levels to compile a long record of safety. However, between February and April 2020, three major refinery fires (FIG. 1) in the U.S. showed that there are still real hazards despite all the efforts to prevent such events. This suggests four primary questions when it comes to fire prevention:

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