The 4 Main Causes of Accidents in a Chemical Plant

Chemical plants

Even when precautions are taken to reduce the risk of accidents in chemical plants, they do happen from time to time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 industrial accidents were the cause of more than 1.2 million workers in the United States missing time from work due to injuries that were not fatal. Although this was a 9 percent decrease from the number of accidents in 2008, there is still room for improvement. Industrial accidents also resulted in 4,340 deaths in 2009.
Knowing how and why accidents occur can help companies take even more steps to reduce the likelihood of them happening in the future. There are 4 main causes of accidents in a chemical plant: human error, improper training, manufacturing defects, and improper maintenance.


A majority of the industrial accidents that occur every year are a result of human error. Many of these accidents are a result of the worker failing to follow the safety procedures that have been put into place by the company where he or she works. As of 2009, a majority of industrial injuries (74.8%) happened in the service-related industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When the proper equipment is not used by personnel, accidents can occur. Many injuries happen when personnel attempt to use improper tools to work on equipment. This can damage the machines and create a safety hazard.


When personnel are not trained properly or adequately, industrial accidents are more likely to occur. Workers should be taught how to operate the equipment in the way it was designed to be used. They should also learn to employ correct safety procedures when they are operating the equipment. Employees should be well versed in what to do if something goes wrong so that they can work to correct the problem quickly before it gets out of control.

In 2009, 4.3 out of every 100 workers in the manufacturing industry were involved in industrial accidents. A majority of these accidents occurred as a result of improper training of personnel.


Accidents that occur in a chemical plant can also be the result of a manufacturing defect. These defects can be present in a piece of equipment or in the materials used. Although companies employ several quality-control measures during the manufacturing process, some of these may fail. This is because many of these control measures are handled by employees. Where humans are involved there is always a chance of human error. An inspector may miss a defect that occurred during manufacturing. The problem may not be recognized until after an accident has occurred.


A common reason that industrial accidents occur in chemical plants is the improper maintenance of equipment. Regular maintenance at scheduled intervals following the manufacturer’s recommendations is important for ensuring that the equipment runs smoothly and safely. When a piece of equipment is not properly maintained, it can malfunction and ultimately fail. This can result in dire consequences for the personnel who are operating and working around the machine.

Recognizing the 4 main causes of accidents in a chemical plant is important for addressing the problem and reducing the potential for an accident to occur in the future. If you have been hurt on the job or injured in an industrial accident, do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation. We have trained professionals who can quickly and easily assess your situation and help you determine your next steps to legal action. We can help you understand your rights and help you get back on track with the settlement you deserve.

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