Turning tragedy into triumph: How process accidents can benefit companies, employees, and, ultimately, customers
Article first published online: 16 APR 2004
Copyright © 2003 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
Process Safety Progress
Volume 22, Issue 4, pages 229–234, December 2003
How to Cite
Lenz, D. H., Rovison, J. M., Maser, M. A., Hodgson, G. M., Pinsky, M. L., Scott, P. and Mulholland, R. (2003), Turning tragedy into triumph: How process accidents can benefit companies, employees, and, ultimately, customers. Proc. Safety Prog., 22: 229–234. doi: 10.1002/prs.680220409
- Issue published online: 16 APR 2004
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2004
In the mid-1990s, FMC was challenged with a corporate goal of manufacturing the safest and highest quality persulfate product for our global customers. Successfully meeting this challenge required a systematic multi-team approachutilizing both novel methods and standard tools in innovative ways to uncover the root causes of the accident. Novel and/or improved QC methods led to the creation of new product and process internal specifications, for routine QC laboratory monitoring of critical final product safety and quality specifications or parameters, and the quantification of a product parameter called “thermal stability,” an excellent indicator of product and process safety, product and process quality, and reliability. The use of this parameter as a predicator of product stability in storage, shipping, and handling was validated and benchmarked by full-scale self-accelerating decomposition temperature tests.
The FMC persulfate process and operating conditions were subsequently modified based on lessons learned. As a result, the packaged persulfate product has not undergone a decomposition in almost eight years. Addressing productsafety automatically led to process safety improvements, and these, in turn, led to better product and process quality. Quality improvements meant better process reliability, increased capacity, reduced process downtime and operating costs, and improved customer satisfaction. Ultimately, this case study shows how safety pays!