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Preventing Accidents through Experience Based Learning

Scott Berger, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York, NY 10016

On December 3, 1984, water contamination of a tank of methyl isocyanate in Bhopal, India initiated a series of events that led to a catastrophic toxic release, killing more than 3,000 residents and injuring over 100,000. Immediately after, leaders from the chemical industry asked AIChE to lead a collaborative effort to eliminate catastrophic process incidents by advancing state of the art technology and management practices, serving as the premier resource for information on process safety, supporting process safety in engineering, and promoting process safety as a key industry value. In the spring of 1985, CCPS was founded. Since that time, CCPS has incorporated experience-based learning from major and minor accidents and near-misses into a world-class collection of guideline documents, resource books, and on-line content. This paper will reflect on the history of CCPS, highlight some recent accomplishments, and present a glimpse at the future of process safety.