Processing the safety lessons of Flixborough


Lessons from the Flixborough disaster:

1st June 1974: A large vapour cloud explosion hit the Flixborough Works of Nypro. The trigger? A release of the volatile and highly flammable liquid, cyclohexane. The release followed the failure of a temporary modification to the reactor process which had not been assessed or pressure tested.

The damage:

  • The blast ripped through the plant
  • 28 workers killed, 18 inside the control room
  • 36 people injured
  • Major damage spread offsite to over 2,000 properties, injuring 50+ people

Lessons to learn:

  • Better control is always required with plant modifications
  • Improved protection for control rooms
  • Wider communication of major accident hazards
  • Training and competency improvements

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