Process Improvement Engineering, Consultants and Engineers An Affiliate of:
P M B 267
5000 W. Esplanade
Metairie, Louisiana 70006 USA
Tel: 1+504 887 7714 • Fax: 1+504 456 1835


(A typical 3-day course outline.)

An analysis of refinery and chemical plant fires and explosions by Norm Lieberman. Norm was directly involved in the investigation of each incident. Intended for operating personnel and unit engineers.

Day One

• FCU fractionator blown off its foundation, falls on control room.
• Isobutane cloud detonates. Source is reflux drum on alky unit.
• By-passing trips on incinerator causes asphalt tank to blow-up. Three killed.
• Failure of a C3-C4 liquid amine H2S extractor kills 17 in emergency response team.
• Oxygen enrichment on FCU melts regenerator cyclones and burns thru steam coils.
• Contractor killed by runaway turbine drive pump.
• Sulfur plant reactor failure due to broken thermowell.

Day Two

• Sulfur plant incinerator stack falls over due to after-burn.
• Delayed coker structure destroyed due to valve problems.
• Visbreaker destroyed. Suction screen on pump is origin of fire.
• Benzene-Toulene splitter explosion during turnaround. Twelve killed.
• Operator dies while responding to level alarm on acid gas K.O. drum.
• Hydrotreater reactor destroyed. Excessive heat of reaction while unit shut-down.
• Three contractors asphyxiated by N2 blanket in reactor during turnaround.
• Light hydrocarbons in sewer cause fatalities.

Day Three

• Bottom of coke drum blows out burning asphalt after power failure. Four killed.
• Freeze-up results in fire fatality on alkylation unit.
• Air accumulation blows-up mercaptain sweetener.
• Contractor burned on H2 SO4 regeneration plant.
• Field testing alarms and trips.
• Danger of Carbon Steel Spool Pieces
• Beware of Temporary Pipe Clamps
• Ideas For Safer Engineering

• More About This Seminar
The key to safety in process plants is close cooperation between operators and engineering. This is the premise of our seminar.
Unit engineers and experienced plant operators must alert management that potential safety problems are developing. This seminar reviews 22 incidents, when this did not happen.
Your presenter, Norm Lieberman, was directly involved in the investigation resulting from these incidents. On occasion, Norm was directly involved in causing the incident.
This is your opportunity to learn from other people’s errors:
“Those who do not study history, are condemned to repeat it.”
The seminar is intended for process personnel and plant operators, as well as plant safety coordinators.


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