Organic dust explosions were and are still today a critical issue in the food, pharmaceutical, and fine chemical industry. Materials such as flour, corn starch, sugar and APIs represent a cause of severe accidents. In this framework, we investigated a modified version of Recursive Operability Analysis−Incidental Sequence Diagrams (ROA–ISD), called ROA Plus−ISD, specifically tailored to describe industrial processes involving organic combustible dusts. Compared to more classical techniques such as Hazard and Operability (HazOp), ROA−ISD allows for a direct generation of fault trees, providing a useful tool to connect Qualitative with Quantitative Risk Analysis (QRA). ROA Plus−ISD is very similar to ROA−Cause Consequence Diagrams (CCD), which has already proven to be an effective tool to perform both risk assessment on existing plants and reconstructing already occurred accidents, given its logical structure and width of the application fields. In this work, we modified specific parts of the standard ROA−CCD method: (1) the Failure Mode and Operability Analysis (FMEA) database has been structured in order to retrieve the well-known explosion pentagon (for dusts) and all the instruments, devices, apparatuses and controllers typical of industries which process organic dusts; (2) a new comprehensive list of process variables has been compiled. In this way, it is possible to tailor the information required for the generation of the fault trees concerning top events involving mainly dust explosions and fires. This method has been implemented in order to reconstruct the dynamics of the February 2008 Imperial Sugar refinery plant accident (Port Wentworth, GA, USA). Results demonstrated the applicability of the enhanced method by highlighting the criticalities of the process already showed by a previously detailed reconstruction performed by the Chemical Safety Board.
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