In European industrial plants at risk of major accidents, which are subject to Directive 2012/18/EU (Seveso III), the occurrence of an accident can have devastating effects on both plant and surrounding environment. However, high impact accidents are rare and difficult to predict, so they cannot be adopted as primary or univocal indicators of the effectiveness of a company safety program nor of its general level of safety.
The present work analyses the succession of near-misses and minor accidents that occurred over the years in a polyurethane systems production plant of a high-risk chemical company, starting from the analysis of its historical accident database and paying particular attention to the specific role played by the human component in the occurrence of undesired events, potentially leading to malfunctions, anomalies and accidents.
The study aims to provide useful instruments for identifying and classifying events – and in particular related incorrect human behaviors - which can be considered precursors of major accidents in such critical and complex industrial plants. At the same time, it is thought as an occasion to contribute to the ongoing behavioral interventions in the analysed industrial site.