TSA 2013: Industry still has a “long way” to go

Four decades on from the Flixborough disaster and industry still has a “long way” to go in addressing issues of process safety, the chief executive of Pentagon Chemicals said on Thursday.

Allan Laing made his comments to delegates at the Tank Storage Association’s
annual conference and exhibition in Coventry.

Mr Laing told members from the fuels, chemicals, edible oils and fats storage industries, that more must be done to stop incidents before they happen.

“I was a 20 year-old chemical engineering student on that day and the fire at Flixborough burnt for over a week”, he said, recalling the “catastrophic” event which claimed the lives of 28 people.

Mr Laing continued: “That incident occurred in 1974 and here, in 2013, almost 40 years later I don’t believe that we have really addressed the challenges that we saw at Flixborough.”

The Pentagon Chemicals official demonstrated his concerns by calling attention to major incidents which followed Flixborough such as the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion in 1988 and 2005’s Buncefield storage terminal fire.

The Flixborough disaster occurred on 1 June 1974 when an explosion at a chemical plant killed 28 people, leaving 36 seriously injured.

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