Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE

The Fire and Explosion at the Buncefield Oil Terminal: The Basic Causes and the Impact on Industry

01 June 2010

The Fire and Explosion at the Buncefield Oil Terminal: The Basic Causes and the Impact on Industry




The massive fire and explosion at the Buncefield Oil Terminal, Hertfordshire on 11 December 2005 made international headlines.  But what actually happened? 

The incident caused a large amount of damage to the surrounding area, it caused havoc to the lives of neighbouring residents and pollution to the underlying chalk aquifer. The complex investigation by HSE and the Environment Agency has continued through to 2010 and an insight will be provided on key aspects of the work.

This illustrated lecture will explain what happened, discuss the causes of the incident and set out the implications for industry.  In particular it will look at the technical causing overfilling of the fuel tank primarily involved and how the petroleum vapour spread off-site.

The lecture will be presented by Bob Woodward.

Bob has worked for the HSE for over 30 years. During that time he has held a number of policy and operational posts. Formerly Head of HSE’s International Chemicals Unit responsible for negotiation on a number of EU Directives on behalf of the UK relating to chemicals control and subsequently headed the Major Hazards operational Unit covering the South and East of England. Following the Buncefield fire and explosion the Health and Safety Commission appointed a Major Incident Investigation Board chaired and Bob Woodward has been the Primary Investigation Manager looking into the causes of the incident.

Clips:

The Fire & Explosion at Buncefield

: Bob Woodward, HSE Investigation Lead

Duration: 90 minutes