A New Methodology for Frequency Estimation of Second or Higher Level Domino Accidents in Chemical and Petrochemical Plants Using Monte Carlo Simulation

Document Type: Research Article


Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, I.R. IRAN


Some of the most destructive accidents of 1980s and 90s which occurred in process industries were domino accidents. Although domino accidents are among the most destructive industrial accidents, there are not much pioneering works done on quantification of them. The analytical formulation of the domino accidents is usually complex and need a deep knowledge of probability rules. Even if the case is formulated, errors in calculation such as round-off error, is very probable as the values used all have small quantities and the number of possible scenarios are too high. In this paper, a new methodology based on Monte Carlo Simulation (MCS) technique is proposed for frequency estimation of domino accidents. The applicability and flexibility of this method is evaluated while applying it to estimate domino frequencies in a case study very similar to a real industrial plant. The simulation technique has shown advantages in comparison to analytical probability methods. The major advantage is non-dependency of the accuracy of results to complexity of the system. In addition by using simulation techniques, failure probability can be calculated as a function of time.


[1] CCPS, “Guidelines for Chemical Process Quantitative Risk Analysis”, 2nd Ed.,AIChE,New York (2000).

[2] Lees, F.P., “Loss Prevention in the Process Industries”, 2nd Ed., Butterworths (1996).

[3] Cozzani, V. and Salzano, E., Threshold Values for Domino Effects Caused by Blast Wave Interaction with Process Equipment, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 17, p. 437 (2004). 

[4] Khan, F.I. and Abbasi, S.A., DOMIFFECT (DOMIno eFFECT): User-Friendly Software for Domino Effect Analysis, Environmental Modeling & Software13, p. 163 (1998).

[5] Pietersen, C. M., Analysis of the LPG Disaster in Mexico City, Loss Prevention and Safety Promotion, 5, p. 21 (1986).

[6] UNEP APELL - Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies on a Local Level: www.uneptie.org

[7] Bagster, D.F. and Pitblado, R.M., The Estimation of Domino Incident Frequencies - An Approach, Trans. IChemE, 69, Part B (1991).

[8] Khan, F.I. and Abbasi, S.A., Models for Domino Effect Analysis in Chemical Process Industries, Process safety Progress, 17 (1998).

[9] Cozzani, V., Gubinelli, G., Antonioni, G., Spadoni, G. and Zanelli, S., The Assessment of Risk Caused by Domino Effect in Quantitative Area Risk Analysis, Journal of Hazardous Materials, A127, p. 14 (2005).

[10] Rashtchian, D. and Lak, A., Risk Assessment of Ammonia Storage Tanks, NSMSI, 26(4), (2007).

[11] Billinton, R. and Allan, R., “Reliability Evaluation of Engineering Systems: Concepts and Techniques”, 2nd Ed., Plenum Press (1992).

[12] Vose, D., “Risk Analysis: A Quantitative Guide”, 2nd Ed., John Willey & Sons (2000).

[13]U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, “Guiding Principles forMonte CarloAnalysis”, EPA/630/R-97/001 (1997).