Case Name, Disaster of Chemical Plant at Flixborough. Pictograph. Date, June 1, Place, Flixborough, UK. Location, Cyclohexanone oxidation plant. Flixborough. disaster. vapour cloud explosion. cyclohexane. loss prevention. risk assessment J.G. BallAfter the Flixborough Report: do we know the real truth?. 1 June is the 40th anniversary of the Flixborough disaster, The Flixborough Plant before the explosion – official report, TS 84/37/1.

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Flixborough (Nypro UK) Explosion 1st June

Unconfined vapour cloud explosions had been experienced since the s; by the early s there had been about known incidents, with about 5 more every year.

Our recommendations should ensure that no similar combination occurs again and that even if it should do so, the errors would be detected before any serious consequences ensued. Similarly the level of authority for technical approval for any plant modification must also be clearly defined. The report also commented on matters to be covered by the Advisory Committee on Major Hazards.

It is almost impossible to prevent ignition of a leak the size of that which occurred at Flixborough. In regard to the failure of the temporary pipe and an 8in. The explosion was estimated to be equivalent to 16 tonnes of TNT and the subsequent fires raged for ten days. The site today is home to the Flixborough Industrial Estate, occupied by various businesses and Glanford Power Station.

There was flixboroough lot of discussion after as the chemical past though the local villages in tankers. Failure ddisaster been accelerated by contact with molten zinc and there were indications that an elbow in the pipe had been at significantly higher temperature than the rest of the pipe.

A leak occurred as a result of two loose bolts at a flange on the non-return valve, located near the 50in. Now pipe-lines are much larger and the amount of gas or liquid that can leak out is much greater.

Flixborough (Nypro UK) Explosion 1st June 1974

Retrieved 9 July The new configuration was tested for leak-tightness at working pressure by pressurisation with nitrogen.


We hired an aircraft from Biggin Hill for aerial photos and hit the phones. The nitrogen stock for purging was found to be insufficient, however, and as a fresh delivery was not expected before midnight, the system was kept on “dry-cycling”, i.

As a result of the rupture of the bellows, a great amount of cyclohexane escaped from the holes in the bellows and formed a cloud of cyclohexane vapour, which subsequently caused the explosion Fig.

The management of major hazard installations must show that it possessed and used a selection of appropriate hazard recognition techniques, [S] had a proper system for audit of critical safety features, and used independent assessment where appropriate. HSE could then choose to — in some cases generally involving high risk or novel technology — require [x] submission of a more elaborate assessment, covering as appropriate “design, manufacture, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, as well as subsequent modifications whether of the design or operational procedures or both”.

Flixborough, 1 June | The National Archives blog

The HSE website currently says “During the late afternoon on 1 June a 20 inch bypass system ruptured, which may have been caused by a fire on a nearby 8-inch pipe”.

It has never been recovered but the plinth it stood on, with a plaque listing all those who cisaster that day, can still be found outside the church. The reactors were constructed from mild steel with a stainless steel lining; when operating they held in total about tonnes of flammable liquid at a working pressure of 8. Because the production process was a high inventory process, if a leak occurred, xisaster plant would suffer a great amount of damage.

Assuming a linear velocity of 0. The modification and its supporting safety assessment then had to be approved in writing by the plant manager and engineer. The plant was intended to produce 70, tpa tons per annum of caprolactam but was reaching a rate of only 47, tpa in early The rfport was caused wholly by the coincidence of a number of unlikely errors in the disaater and installation of a modification.

Cast in bronzeit showed mallards alighting on water. The casualty figures could have been much higher, if the explosion had occurred on a weekdaywhen the main office area would have been occupied.


Unlike the Court of Inquiry, its personnel and that of its associated working groups had significant representation of safety professionals, drawn largely from the nuclear industry and ICI or ex-ICI. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? The Petrochemicals Division of Imperial Chemical Industries ICI operated many plants with large inventories of flammable chemicals at its Wilton site including one in which cyclohexane was oxidised to cyclohexanone and cyclohexanol.

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Flixborough disaster

The report of the court of inquiry was critical of the installation of the bypass pipework on a number of counts: My grandfather in Grimsby heard the explosion and thought it was very strange thunder. For most ‘notifiable installations’ no further explicit controls should be needed; HSE could advise and if need be enforce improvements under the general powers given it flixborouvh the Health and Safety at Work Act HASAWAbut for a very few sites explicit licensing by HSE might be appropriate; [y] responsibility for safety of the installation remaining however always and totally with the licensee.

The occupants of the works laboratory had seen the release and evacuated the building before the release ignited; most survived.

ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. A pipe was installed to bypass the leaking reactor so that the plant could continue production.

Construction of the plant had required planning permission approval by the local council; while “an interdepartmental procedure enabled planning authorities to call upon the advice of Her Majesty’s Factory Inspectorate when considering applications for new developments which might involve a major hazard” [27] there was no requirement for them to do sosince the council had not recognised the hazardous nature of the plant [3] they had not called for advice.

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