Domino effects in chemical factories and clusters: An historical perspective and discussion

Paul Swuste, K. van Nunen, Genserik Reniers, N. Khakzad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Major accidents in Western countries, receiving a lot of media attention in the 1970s, are starting point for research into internal and external domino effects in the chemical and petrochemical sectors and clusters. Initially, these reports are published by government institutions and government-related research centres. With the upcoming quantitative risk analyses in the 1970s and 1980s, the so-called öcoloured books’, published in the Netherlands, play a prominent role in quantifying these domino effects. Since the mid 1990s, the second European Seveso Directive encourages scientific research on domino effects, shown in substantially growth of academic publications on the topic. Research in Western countries is dominated by risk assessments, probabilities, and failure mechanisms are calculated for the complex phenomenon of domino effects and its consequences. Previous works are closely related to political, official and private decision-making. A transition towards risk management is still in its infancy. A future transition is necessary to understand initial scenarios as starting points for domino effects.

In India a wake-up call for domino effects occurs in the mid-1990s. Chinese publications on domino effects in the international scientific press appear from the mid-2000s onwards. Due to a rapid industrialisation, the numbers in China country are overwhelming, versus chemical companies, as versus of many major accidents in this sector.

This article will discuss results of research on domino effects, conducted in the period 1966–2018, as well as major determinants of these accident processes. Also present, and future transition in this research domain will be discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-30
Number of pages13
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Domino-effects
  • Process industry
  • Chemical cluster
  • History
  • Review


Dive into the research topics of 'Domino effects in chemical factories and clusters: An historical perspective and discussion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this