Safety Board: Shell Moerdijk not critical enough on safety risks

Shell fire
An explosion at the Shell Moerdijk facility in June 2014 (Photo: OttoWise / Twitter). An explosion at the Shell Moerdijk facility in June 2014 (Photo: OttoWise / Twitter)

Shell Moerdijk should be more critical on safety risks, the Dutch Safety Board concludes in its report on the last year. Two people were injured and a was caused.

"Shell was not aware of the chemical reaction that eventually led to the explosion", the Safety Board concludes. "As a result, employees were not able to intervene in time." The report states that Shell must do better investigation into eventual risks that may arise, especially in the implementation of changes in production processes, equipment and raw materials.

The Safety Board is surprised that Shell Moerdijk did not follow the internal procedures, did not learn "sufficient lessons from previous incidents and signals from within its own organization and made incorrect assumptions about basic chemical reactions". "Shell has therefore not fulfilled the high expectations of safety management within the company."

According to the report, the highest risk companies in the Netherlands, which includes Shell, must take "all possible measures to ensure safety". "Especially from a company like Shell, that presents itself as a forerunner in the field of safety and that the supervisors also know as such, the board expects a critical look at their own processes and safety procedures.

A few months after the explosion, Shell announced that the explosion was in the reactor of the plant. The reactor stood in one of the factories where raw materials for the production of synthetics were produced.

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