A study of maintenance-related major accident cases in the 21st century
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Original versionProcess Safety and Environmental Protection. 2014, 92 (4), 346-356. 10.1016/j.psep.2014.03.001
This paper is based on a review of 183 detailed, major accident investigation and analysis reports related to the handling, processing and storage of hydrocarbons and hazardous chemicals over a decade from 2000 to 2011. The reports cover technical, human and organizational factors. In this paper, the Work and Accident Process (WAP) classification scheme is applied to the accident reports with the intention of investigating to what extent maintenance has been a cause of major accidents and what maintenance-related causes have been the most frequent. The main objectives are: (1) to present more current overall statistics of maintenance-related major accidents, (2) to investigate the trend of maintenance-related major accidents over time, and (3) to investigate which maintenance-related major accident causes are the most frequent, requiring the most attention in the drive for improvement. The paper presents statistical analysis and interpretation of maintenance-related major accidents’ moving averages as well as data related to the types of facility, hazardous substances, major accidents and causes. This is based on a thorough review of accident investigation reports. It is found that out of 183 major accidents in the US and Europe, maintenance was linked to 80 (44%) and that the accident trend is decreasing. The results also show that “lack of barrier maintenance” (50%), “deficient design, organization and resource management” (85%) and “deficient planning/scheduling/fault diagnosis” (69%) are the most frequent causes in terms of the active accident process, the latent accident process and the work process respectively.