Custom «The Flixborough Disaster» Essay Paper

Custom «The Flixborough Disaster» Essay Paper

The Flixborough disaster occurred in England on June 1, 1974. In the result, the area was affected significantly; even the fish abandoned the local waters and never returned. This disaster was the price that people had to pay for coal, production of nylon, and industrial progress in general. The price was extremely high. The Flixborough tragedy took lives of many workers who were killed during the explosion at a plant processing cyclohexane. Many more were injured during the accident. This was the biggest explosion that has ever occurred in the United Kingdom.

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The Flixborough explosion happened on a plant processing cyclohexane on the Saturday afternoon, at seven minutes to five, local time. The clock on the post office situated two miles away from the plant stopped at the moment of explosion. At the time, nobody knew the reasons of why the explosion had happened. The consequences of this disaster were extremely deplorable. The damage was estimated at 70 million pounds. The study showed that the disaster had caused the death of 29 people while 36 workers were injured in the plant, and 53 individuals were injured outside it. Moreover, 1821 houses were damaged with many totally destroyed. Many people, who lived around the accident site, lost their homes and property. A man, who lived in one of the six semidetached houses and was the witness of this catastrophe, recollected that once he heard a noise, he could not even understand what happened. The family was watching TV (Schoolboy International) when they heard the noise. The man and his son looked out of the window and saw the explosion.

A woman was another witness and gave an interview. She described what she saw at that moment. It was a huge cloud of white smoke that was rising up. She said that there was no noise at that moment, just a cloud of smoke. This smoke cvered the whole building. The woman said that she had lived there for twenty-seven years, and the citizens would not even imagine that such a disaster could happen. They knew that processing cyclohexane is dangerous, but they were not expecting the Flixborough explosion. However, the woman thought that one day, something might happen, but not as dangerous as this disaster.

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Everybody who lived around was scared, because the situation ran out of control. People were in the panic as everything around was in the fire. Meanwhile, about two hundred workers were still inside the plant. The area residents had to leave their homes in order to survive. Every person who was interviewed said that he/she was not going to stay at this place and wanted to move to a safer place as soon as possible. The victims of the Flixborough explosion were stressed and frightened. The workers of the plant and their families were eager to find a new place for living; though, many of them had lived and worked here for many years. People who worked at the plant noted that they always used to be uncertain about the safety of the processes conducted. The Flixborough explosion demonstrated that the workers were not protected in an effective manner. There could not have been any reason to kill people at the workplace.

In fact, the management of the plant did its best to evacuate people before the explosion. Otherwise, there could have been more victims. The explosion destroyed all the records, and all workers in the plant control room were killed. The pipe rupture was reported to lead to the explosion. Many experts agree that it was the main cause of the disaster. The investigation conducted after the accident revealed that probably the Flixborough explosion had occurred because the by-pass pipe between the fourth and sixth reactors had released. As a result, 40 tons of the cyclohexaane vapors contacted the flame, and the reactor exploded. Even though, it is not known for sure, it is considered the main cause of the Flixborough explosion. On the other hand, some experts are not confident about whether the reactor was the main cause of failure at the Flixborough plant processing cyclohexane or not. They investigated the case and came to the conclusion that the disaster had happened mostly because there were no appropriate control and planning. Moreover, the design, testing, and construction were rather poor.

The authorities and common people assumed that the Flixborough explosion should be investigated in order to prevent such a disaster in the future. The experts should work thoroughly on the implementation of the better processes and equipment. Producing nylon, in general, should be improved. The investigation showed that the new technologies and new approaches to the production of nylon were needed. Since then, both the experts and government have implemented different programs to protect people from the similar explosions. The Emergency Management and authorities should develop the safety programs and regulations to prevent such accidents in the future. The systems that crashed needed modification, as well. To prevent similar disasters, the Process Safety Management should improve training employees, as well as process the safety culture and competence. The operations should be conducted on a more professional level than before. The analysts should determine how to make a modified system better engineered.

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In conclusion, it should be noted that the Flixborough explosion was a huge ecological and environmental disaster that damaged people, flora, and fauna of the region. Since then, the authorities became more attentive and responsible for the design, construction, testing, and production of nylon in the United Kingdom.

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