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Keywords:

  • incident investigation;
  • process safety;
  • Chemical Safety Board

Abstract

After almost 30 years with the Dow Chemical Company and several years in process safety consulting, I had the privilege of working as an investigator with the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). During my 5 years at the CSB, I led four major investigations and participated in a total of nine investigations. The investigations ranged from the Reactive Hazard Investigation, which analyzed major reactive chemical incidents in the U.S. over a 20-year period, to individual incidents that occurred in small, medium, and large companies both inside and outside the chemical processing industries. From these investigations, I have learned about the nature of chemical plant incidents and also learned how to conduct an effective investigation. This article discusses the 10 keys to effective incident investigation with examples from the investigations that I participated in. © 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2008