RPS Risk Management attended the 2017 hazardex exhibition and conference in Runcorn in early March which focuses on the issues affecting the safe installation and operation of plant & equipment within potentially explosive atmospheres.
There were many interesting talks over the two-day event including “An Overview of the IECEx System 2017” and “Sellafield ISA100 Wireless Applications”, but the main event for our delegates was colleague, James Daley: a consultant from the Warrington office, presenting his paper on the main stage, on the subject of “Safety System Fire Analysis – How can fire challenge the safe operations of a facility? And how can it be established whether a fire can cause a facility/ process to enter an unsafe state”.
James’ article details whether a fire could cause a facility/process to enter an unsafe state, detailed analysis of the facilities fire prevention and mitigation provisions should be completed. This analysis will determine whether the effects of fire could have detrimental effects on the facilities ability to operate safely and establish whether a facility could be shut down in a systematic and controlled manner (including emergency).
It is recognised that most hazard studies consider the loss of utilities and control, hence should consider the loss of safety systems but there is limited analysis completed to justify the expected outcomes in the event of the fire on a facility. It should be recognised that fire is a common cause failure if equipment is collocated and the questions posed previously are rarely answered. On the basis of the safety systems fire analysis, the robustness of the basic process control and safety systems engineering design and their effectiveness can be confirmed, and the requirements for emergency response can be demonstrated.
The article provides practical examples of how safety systems have been analysed with regards to being affected by fire, examples of improvements and the overall benefit of such an analysis.
As well as attending the hazardex conference, RPS delegates took in the exhibition which among other things had a large array of tablets for use in potentially explosive atmospheres which are the latest technology in hazardous area inspections.