Texas City oil refinery explosion was once of the deadliest oil tragedies to be experienced in America. The explosion was caused as a result of poor monitoring services at the control room in that the employees could not detect the high temperature at the drilling towers which in effect led to a high pressure at the pipes that forced octane gases to be realized to the surrounding. The flammable gas was ignited by probably a running vehicle which then exploded killing 15 people. As such, the handling of the case had resulted to a myriad of activities and agencies that came and investigated the cause of the incident. The investigation led to the discovery of interests and values that guided major players in the industry. The major players were found to focus more on process safety and no the environmental and personal safety as it should be (Yemen 14).
Therefore, companies were reluctant to invest their time and energy to ensuring that personal safety is assured especially in the transition period. Also, the development of people at the company was very little; people were quick to conclude that they werent sure they will still be in the refinery in the future (Saleh 126). Additionally, little was known about process safety management, and as such, individuals can conclude that the mission and goals of the company focused on making money and not on safeguarding the entire process.
However, such interests and values practiced by the principal players of the tragedy should not be practiced by people in the society. People should always put human safety first before every other thing. The company should have invested immensely in process safety management as well as training of staff. Additionally, the company should have resolved to ensure that trucks, as well as temporary offices, are away from the exploration site by at least 500ft (Amyotte 4). Therefore, it is true to note that the decisions that the key players in the company was not good in that it jeopardized the employee safety as well as the process safety. The reason why they were not the best decisions is that they focused only on how they could increase their drilling rate without considering whether it is for the safe for the employees (Amyotte, 7).
The decisions by the key players in the company mainly affected the employees of the company as well as the contractors. Employees were affected in that they were the ones who handled the process as well as the distribution of the by-products from the site. The contractors were also affected in that their safety was jeopardized in the process of undertaking the contractual duties such as freight travel and maintenance in the drilling site. Other key players to be neglected were the community surrounding the drilling site. The decisions for refinery during the transition should have made the company to be even more vigilant about the safety concern issues. The contractors, as well as the employee's safety, were not in line with the necessary laws in the country.
However, some laws that concern refinery safety were not sufficient for safety concerns. One such law is that a van or lorry was allowed to be within the drilling by 200ft. This distance should have been lengthened to increase safety concerns in site. Companies were also allowed to have temporary offices which in effect led to many deaths during the explosion since the explosion reached the offices due to the short distance. In conclusion, it is important that refinery companies realize that human safety should be ensured so that it can in future prevent such catastrophe. The lessons learned, therefore, are that human safety should be a priority and that working conditions in the refinery should be improved.
Amyotte, Paul R., et al. "Why major accidents are still occurring." Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering 14 (2016): 1-8.
Saleh, Joseph H., et al. "Texas City refinery accident: Case study in breakdown of defense-in-depth and violation of the safety diagnosability principle in design." Engineering Failure Analysis 36 (2014): 121-133.
Yemen, Gerry, et al. "BP: Beyond Petroleum." Darden Business Publishing Cases (2017): 1-16.
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