"An obituary: ICI's contribution to process safety and why it came to an end" by Trevor A. Kletz
Uncertainty creates risk. Risk is the consequence of bad chance. Reducing the
uncertainty in a project by better information does not itself reduce the risk but may
lead to a different decision. The worst consequence of the new decision may be less
disastrous, a smaller risk, than the original decision.
(ICI, Assessing projects: A programme for learning, 1970 (2nd ed.). London: Methuen. p. 316) 
The article "An obituary: ICI's contribution to process safety and why it came to an end" by Professor Trevor Kletz describes an accident, that had unforeseen and unexpected results. It led to the end of an independent company, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), which had made major changes in process safety, most of which were widely copied.
Trevor Kletz joined the company at Billingham, UK in 1944 and retired in 1982, after spending the first seven years in the Research Department, the next 16 in production and the last 14 in process safety.
In his paper, Trevor Kletz lists the major innovations in process safety made by the company during his time in the company. All of them were published and made freely available to the process industry as a whole. He was involved to varying degrees in all of them. The substantial contribution to process safety made by the United Kingdom company - Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), is described and followed by a discussion on the following:
- The reasons why ICI produced more new process safety ideas than other companies.
- If ICI had never existed, would the same new ideas still have been produced?
- If ICI still existed in its old form, what new ideas might it have been producing now?
- The reasons for ICI's decline and fall, and their similarity to process accidents.
As well as the discussion above this paper should be read by all those who want to know and learn lessons about the beginnings of:
- Hazard and operability studies (Hazop)
- Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) (also known as Hazard Analysis or Hazan)
- Inherently safer design
- Management of change
- The causes of accidents, including human factors
- Improving the preparation of equipment for maintenance
- Systematic attempts to remember the lessons of the past - the actions include widespread circulation of accident reports both inside and outside the company, and the recycling of information
The full paper
An obituary: ICI's contribution to process safety and why it came to an end
by Trevor A. Kletz
Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, November 2010, volume 23, issue 6, pp. 954-957
Trevor A. Kletz
a) Department of Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
b) Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University, 64 Twining Brook Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle SK8 5RJ, UK
Correspondence to: Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University, 64 Twining Brook Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle SK8 5RJ, UK | Tel/Fax: +44 161 485 3875 | Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
 ICI. (1970). Assessing projects: A programme for learning (2nd ed.). London: Methuen, p. 316.
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