At around 1:20 p.m. on 23 March 2005 there was a series of explosions at our BP Texas City refinery which has led to injuries on workers, loss of life and destruction of property in the refinery plant. We are saddened to announce that fifteen employees were killed and more than one hundred and eighty were injured during that accident. The disaster has left operations at the refinery on a complete halt as investigations are being conducted by the Chemical safety board in the US. The extent of the damage is still being investigated and we would like to assure the public that we are doing our best to contain the situation at the refinery. The Texas fire fighters department has been very helpful in answering the distress call after the first explosion.
They have dedicated their best team in dealing with this tragedy that has left the City of Texas in shock. The cause of the explosion was during the restarting of the hydrocarbon isomerization unit which started at around 1:00 am. The distillation tower flooded with hydro carbons after several initial measures to contain it led to over pressure at the distillation tower which caused a geyser like release at the top of the vent which spread to the surrounding area leading to several explosions. Many of the victims of this tragedy were around the atmospheric vent stack. The US CSB has been on the site after the Texas fire department contained the situation preventing spread of the fire to more structures in the refinery site.
The quick response to this tragedy in the history of our company was effective in preventing more damage and injuries at the company premises in Texas. As a plant manager we have instructed and instituted several measures that have been effective in the past in prevention of explosions and other accidents at our firms around the country. The situation is currently under control and we reassure the general public that this tragedy will not happen again on our premises as we have devised safety mechanisms to prevent future accidents and ensure the safety of our employees.
The findings from this tragedy have left the company on a safety drive that seeks to ensure no future accidents on our company premises and the protection of human life. We are urging the public to remain calm as we continue with this safety drive where the US chemical safety board has joined in ensuring all our refinery companies in the country and beyond are safe thus ensuring a complete safety performance drill. Employees at our other refinery companies around the country are undergoing assessment to find out how safety conscious they are when at work (Nolan, 23-24). A collective safety drive among employees is being undertaken as we continue to contain this tragedy at Texas City that has led to loss of precious lives and injuries among our fellow employees.
We would like to assure the local people and authority that this tragedy has left us more aware of our responsibility as a company to the local community and the environment and we would like to assure you that this accident will not happen again. We are an environmentally friendly company and we wish to ensure that our safety precautions measures have been reviewed by experts and proper recommendations are being implemented to avoid such a tragedy in the future. We are doing the best in our ability to train our employees on safety drives to ensure that they are up to task with the use of equipment in the company and demonstrate safety conscious measures for their own good and the safety of their fellow employees at the company.
We have managed to expose some errors that led to these explosions at our BP Texas refinery. The process safety metrics need to be developed as it gave wrong readings during the isomerization process which then led to poor human judgment of the readings. When the splitter tower was being filled there was a careless operator who failed to notice the reading and they exceeded the safety level leading to an overfill resulting in explosion. There occurred multiple critical miscommunications between operators personnel in the company as some conditions of the equipment at the company were not communicated in advance to prevent the over fill (Coombs & Sherry, 56).
US chemical safety board has recommended that as we company we need to implement proper chain of command at our companies to ensure information is shared and passed on the right channel especially during shift changes. Safety drills around our country branches are currently under way to ensure that all our metric measurement are effective and give the correct reading to prevent a similar error like the one at Texas City Refinery. The tragedy was a culmination of several equipment and personnel error in the company that escalated to a series of explosions at the vent tower after an over flow of hydrocarbons from the splitter tower. As a plant manager we have found some areas of improvement to ensure that the necessary precaution is done to prevent such a tragedy in future.
We have devised a plan to ensure that our refinery plants are safe and proper safety procedures is followed to ensure the safety of our employees when operating machinery and equipment. Proper training of our employees will ensure they are up to task in operating various machineries in and around the company. Proper training ensures that they are aware of safety precaution tactics while at work in our companies. Proper safety gear and equipment have been procured to ensure that any minor problem in future will be dealt with in due time to prevent the problem from escalating farther and spreading to nearby storage tanks.
Safety procedures will be carried out by each and every personnel in the company to ensure that his/her safety has been guaranteed by the safety of all stakeholders in the refinery. Default equipment at the refinery have been replaced especially the metric towers which gives wrong readings have undergone a complete overhaul in a move to ensure they work and operate well. Proper procedure when it comes to giving instructions especially during shift changes as the new shift operators are undertaken through the progress of the various processes around the company.
This ensures that the shift change is effective in ensuring personnel communication of the progress. Each plant needs to have a safety valve that can help shut down the whole process in case of an impending danger in the refinery as we try to ensure the safety of our employees and environmental conservation. Different safety drills have been carried out in various companies around the country to ensure that each firm is safety conscious ad operational. I assure you that my department will do all in its power to prevent such a tragedy in future and safeguard the safety of our employees.
Coombs, W T, and Sherry J. Holladay. The Handbook of Crisis Communication. Chichester, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Print.
Nolan, Dennis P. Handbook of Fire and Explosion Protection Engineering Principles: For Oil, Gas, Chemical and Related Facilities. Burlington: Elsevier Science, 2010. Print.