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Process unit startups and shutdowns are significantly more hazardous than normal oil refinery or chemical facility operations.


A startup is a planned series of steps to take a process from an idle, at rest, state to normal operation.


A shutdown is the reverse sequence.


The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) determined that a majority of process safety incidents occur during a plant startup, even though it represents only a small portion of the operating life of a plant.


According to CCPS, process safety incidents occur five times more often during startup than during normal operations.


1 According to a 2010 study of incidents in the refining industry, 50 percent of process safety incidents occur 1 CCPS. Guidelines for Safe Process Operations and Maintenance. 1995; p 113, citing Large Property Damage Losses in the Hydrocarbon-Chemical Industries. Marsh McLennan, 14th edition, New York, NY, 1992. during startups, shutdowns, and other events that infrequently occur.


2 This is because the startup and shutdown periods involve many non-routine procedures, and these periods can result in unexpected and unusual situations.


To prevent these types of incidents from occurring, facilities should employ effective communication, provide workers with appropriate training, and have in place strong and up-todate policies and procedures for hazardous operations such as startups and shutdowns.



Accident: Arkema Inc. Chemical Plant Fire E-Shutdown procedures


Location: Location: Crosby, TX


Accident Occured On: 08/29/2017 | Final Report Released On: 05/24/2018


Accident Type: Chemical Manufacturing - Fire and Explosion


Investigation Status: The CSB's final investigation report was released at a news conference in Houston, Texas, on May 24, 2018

On August 29, 2017, flooding from Hurricane Harvey disabled the refrigeration system at the Arkema plant in Crosby, TX, which manufactures organic peroxides. The following day people within a 1.5 mile radius were evacuated. As the trailers increased in temperature the peroxides spontaneously combusted on August 31. Officials ignited the remaining trailers, on Sunday, September 3, 2017. The evacuation zone was lifted on September 4, 2017.