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Safety at chemical plants and refineries has not improved despite scores of fatalities over the last decade, and it won't until companies develop better systems for identifying red flags that point to potential disaster, panelists said at a Monday hearing in Houston.

The first day of a two-day hearing by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board focused on safety shortcomings that contributed to deadly incidents such as the 2005 explosion at BP's Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers and injured scores. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill will be the main topic as the hearing continues today.

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