In the U.K., a joint industry and government task group (COMAH) has called for immediate measures to implement eight key action points at major petroleum storage facilities in the wake of the Buncefield Oil Storage Terminal explosion and fire in December 2005.
The aim of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 and the Control of Major Accident Hazards (Amendment) Regulations 2005 is to prevent and mitigate the effects on people and the environment of those major incidents involving dangerous substances. The regulations are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency in England and Wales, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in Scotland.
Potentially the most costly among the action points is the recommended installation f fire safe shut-off valves fitted close to the tank on both the inlet and outlet pipes. Remotely operated shut-off valves (ROSOVs) for the emergency isolation of azardous substances should be fail safe, a preliminary report states.Other measures recommended in the preliminary report include:
- Safe management of product transfer will be improved by receiving site perators positively confirming that they can safely receive the product package before transfer starts and are able to initiate emergency shutdown if necessary.
- Tank operating practices, staffing levels and systems, must provide effective safety margins to prevent a release.Overall systems for tank filling control must be of high integrity with sufficient independence to ensure timely and safe shutdown to prevent tank overflow. Operators should meet latest international standards.
- Joints in bunds must be capable of resisting fire. Existing bunds should be modified to meet this requirement.
- Tertiary containment measures must be capable of preventing the uncontrolled escape of firewater and other products to the environment.
- Effective shift/crew handover communication arrangements must be in place to ensure the safe continuation of operations.
Final recommendations are expected by the end of July 2007.