It is not an anniversary to celebrate, after all this was and still is the worst industrial accident in history. On December 2, 1984, water inadvertently entered a storage tank containing more than 80,000 pounds of methyl isocyanate (MIC),. The subsequent runaway reaction overheated the tank and resulted in a massive toxic gas release. A dense, lethal cloud drifted over the city of Bhopal exposing hundreds of thousands of people to deadly MIC and other chemicals, The release eventually killed tens of thousands of people.
In the wake of this accident changes were made to try and prevent the reoccurrence of such an accident. New laws to increase chemical emergency preparedness and to require companies to develop process safety and risk management programs, and to report their worst-case release scenarios where put in place. The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) was established by the US Congress which independently investigates chemical accidents in the US and recommend measures to prevent such catastrophic accidents. Yet still accident continue to happen.
In this Chemical Safety Board Video, a safety message, the CSB discusses this and a number of additional accidents currently being investigated or previously investigated by the CSB which ultimately could have been prevented had current federal and state regulations focused on preventative measures or continuously reducing process risks.
As a result the CSB has voted to include “Modernize U.S. Process Safety Management Regulations” on the CSB’s list of most wanted safety improvements.
I found this video interesting, disturbing and a sobering reminder that we can not be complacent about safety. That still more needs to be done in the area of process safety and risk reduction.