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The Equilon Refinery Coking Plant Accident, Puget Sound WA, 25 November 1998

Presented By

Jim Thomson - Safety in Engineering


An outline of the accident and its causes, consequences and costs will be given, together with some discussion about the potential underlying management failings.

An updated version of Jim’s presentation with additional comments in the slide notes can be found below:


Jim ThompsonJim Thomson’s background includes nuclear plant operations, R&D, design engineering, safety management, business improvement, and safety consultancy. In his early career he was a shift manager at the Prototype Fast Reactor at Dounreay in northern Scotland, a lecturer at Edinburgh University, and a senior engineer at NNC (now Wood Group) in Knutsford, Cheshire. From 1989 to 2004 he worked for SSEB/Scottish Nuclear/British Energy, latterly as Nuclear Safety Manager and then EC&I Manager. Since 2004 he has been a director of two international safety consultancies, before starting his own company in 2011. During 2012-13, he was Areva NP’s Global C&I Lead.

He completed the Advanced Management Programme at Oxford University in 1997 and the Senior Nuclear Plant Management Program at INPO, Atlanta, in 2000.

Jim specializes in consultancy in both safety management and high-integrity C&I. He has carried out consultancy work (including nuclear, offshore O&G, and refining) in Europe, Africa, Asia and North and South America. Recent clients include Rolls-Royce, Wood Group, Ultra Electronics, and Schneider Electric.

 His latest book High Integrity Systems and Safety Management in Hazardous Industries was published by Elsevier in 2015. He also wrote Engineering Safety Assessment (Longman, 1987), co-wrote Elements of Nuclear Power, 3rd Ed (Longman, 1989), and co-wrote Managing Ageing Plant – A Summary Guide (HSE Books, 2010). 

He was awarded the Nuclear Institute’s Pinkerton Prize in 2013.

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