The Loss Prevention Bulletin (LPB) was first published in 1974 around the time of the disastrous explosion at Flixborough. Many discussions were taking place around that time to identify what IChemE might do to help prevent accidents, and it was agreed to produce a publication in which subscribing companies could share information on accidents within their companies and elsewhere, and the lessons that others could learn to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
The first issue of the Loss Prevention Bulletin appeared in December 1974 and consisted mainly of items from Trevor Kletz’s renowned ICI Newsletters. A founding principle was that the anonymity of the companies and the locations of the accidents should be preserved if required, so that important lessons could be learned and shared without fear of embarrassment or recrimination.
Over the ensuing forty years, LPB has covered in depth the major process industry accidents, such as Bhopal, Seveso, Piper Alpha, Texas City, Buncefield, as well as scores of less well known incidents and near-misses whose details would not be widely available from other sources. Numerous special issues have been published focussing on specific hazards commonly found in the process industry, for example – confined space entry, accidents during start-up and shutdown, laboratory hazards. LPB also looks beyond the boundaries of the process industry to draw out the applicable lessons from accidents in other industries: the Uberlingen air crash; the Channel Tunnel fire and the sinking of the HMS Costa Concordia, amongst others covered in LPB, all have relevant learning for the process industry. In addition, LPB also publishes guidance on good systems of loss prevention and process safety management on the principle of ‘continuous improvement.’
LPB’s objective of sharing information with the aim of improving process safety is recognised by other bodies, and shares many of the same objectives as the UK CIA’s Responsible Care programme; the US Chemical Safety Board and the European Commission’s Major Accident Hazards Bureau. As such, LPB relies on organisations continuing willingness to share the lessons they have learned with others. The result is a growing archive of material providing an invaluable resource for process safety professionals worldwide, which continues to have an important role in disseminating the lessons learned from incidents past and present.