For information on the forthcoming events in Asia and Europe please refer to our dedicated events pages:
Global News Items
From our Experts: Case Study – Asphyxia Hazard
A grain store processing/handling area was below ground and identified as a ‘confined space’ although physical access was not barred other than by a warning. The risk to staff comes from the potential for wet grain to decompose releasing carbon dioxide and subsequent risk of asphyxiation.
The recommendation is for a physical barrier, with key entry, to be used to prevent access without a written permit, issued with the relevant key and a gas monitor to be issued, and used, as a mandatory requirement rather than on request.
The risk from asphyxia is equally valid for other industries such as Pharmaceutical and Chemical, where they may use inerting or partial inerting as their ‘basis of safety’.
Avoiding Over Zoning
In most organisations risk assessments err on the side of safety. Whilst this is not an issue in itself, it can result in large hazardous areas being designated and, in some cases, a higher than necessary classification of zoning (i.e. Zone 1 instead of Zone 2).
Financial Benefits: Using this approach on a recent project, our Consultant Engineers were able to save an international food manufacturer over £100K in unnecessary modifications to their plant. Further information on how you can benefit by avoiding over-zoning can be found on our fact sheet or calling our Technical support team on +44 (0)1962 840570 or email email@example.com
Fish Meal Dust in $100K Explosion
Authorities at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, are blaming fish food dust at Westward Seafoods processing plant for the severe damage to their site following an explosion on 19th Sept. Although there were employees inside the building no injuries were reported. Authorities confirmed there had been two previous dust explosions from fish processing plants in the area but this one was the most serious.
The food processing industry handles many forms of flammable dust and nearly all have the potential to cause catastrophic damage and loss of life. Our process safety experts can help identify potential hazardous materials and provide flammability and explosivity characterisation data for hazard and risk assessments.
Inspection and Maintenance Equipment must be Suitable for Hazardous Areas
An engineering company has been fined £380,000 for safety failings. Worcester Crown Court heard how an employee of an engineering company was inspecting a rocket motor for damages using a fibre optic light. The light was used to illuminate a conduit on the ‘charge’ of the motor when the heat from the light caused the propellant to ignite. The charge burned sending out uncontrolled flames and gases for about 10 seconds until it finally burnt out. Luckily no one was injured but the potential for a catastrophic incident was huge.
Details on the HSE website at: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/a-rocket-motor-company-fined-for-safety-failings/?eban=govdel-fire-and-explosion&cr=08-Jul-2016
This highlights the importance of ensuring that inspection and maintenance equipment are also considered when assessing the risk of fire and explosion in hazardous areas.
Distillery Fire Caused by Static Discharge
A distillery has been fined after an employee was engulfed in flames in a fire that destroyed the warehouse and its contents. Wolverhampton Crown Court heard how ethyl acetate (highly flammable liquid) was being transferred from a bulk storage tank into an intermediate bulk container when an employee was engulfed in flames. An investigation by the HSE into the incident found that the most likely source of ignition was a discharge of static electricity generated by the transfer of the liquid. There was poor maintenance of pipework and associated valves. There was a failure to competently inspect the equipment or monitor the systems of work. See the link for further details: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/9465/
Competent DSEAR assessment of a plant should include a review of the hazards from static discharge. For further advice on testing for static hazards contact our Technical support team on +44 (0)1962 840570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Website Pages
We have continued our process of adding depth and knowledge to our website with the introduction of further testing pages and some primer Consultancy pages. To see these new pages, go to our website or click on the links below:
If you have any questions related to the suitability of testing for your basis of safety or compliance questions on ATEX / DSEAR, please contact Mike Weaver, our Technical Manager on +44 (0)1962 840570 or email email@example.com.
Eur. Ing. Barry Cunliffe Joins our Process Safety Consultancy Team
Sigma-HSE (UK) are pleased to welcome Barry to our consultancy team and introduce his expertise to our clients. Barry has been involved in process safety for the last 34 years; seven of those years as a Specialist Inspector of Process Safety for the UK HSE. Having spent the last 18 years as a Principal Process Safety Specialist Consultant Barry is very experienced in the complexity and challenges of process safety and respected within the industry for is wealth of knowledge and clarity of assessment. Barry has handled projects in Belgium, Italy, France, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Turkey and the USA to name but a few of the countries where he’s worked. As an acknowledged expert in his field Barry has also been called on as an Expert Witness where incidents have resulted in prosecutions.
If you have worked with Barry in the past and would like the continuity of knowledge of your plant to form a basis of future consultancy work please don’t hesitate to mention this when contacting our Technical Support Team on +44 (0)1962 840570 or contact him directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
New Website Test Definition Pages
Following recent updates to our website we would like to introduce three of 15 new test pages with information on the process of each test and associated data.
Avoidance of Ignition Sources as a Basis of Safety, is often used for processes such as charging vessels from sacks, IBC’s or FIBC’s, pneumatic conveying, milling and tabletting operations to name a few. Many materials, that can create a flammable atmosphere, are found to be insensitive to ignition and therefore it is easy, practical and cost affective to ensure an ignition source capable of initiating a reaction, is not present. Call our Technical Support Team on +44 (0)1962 840570 or visit our dedicated website page
Empty Container Explosion – Company and Director Fined
A manufacturing company in Shrewsbury, UK, and its Director were fined by Magistrates following an explosion when an empty 45-gallon steel drum was being cut in half. The drum had previously contained a flammable liquid which caught fire and exploded while being cut with an angle grinder. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Just because the container was apparently empty did not mean it was safe to handle or dispose of, as without adequate cleaning a persistent flammable atmosphere remained. A process DSEAR assessment would have identified this problem and avoided putting staff and property at risk.
A comprehensive DSEAR assessment should look at the lifecycle of flammable materials within your manufacturing site from initial reception and storage, through to application and disposal of flammable packaging. If your assessment does not cover these areas, talk to our Technical Support Team on 01962 840570 or email email@example.com.
Sigma-HSE (UK) Ltd an Accredited SafeContractor
Sigma-HSE (UK) Ltd has been awarded accreditation from Safecontractor for its commitment to achieving excellence in health and safety. SafeContractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises very high standards in health and safety management amongst UK contractors.
Feed Mill Explosion in Rockmart USA – Probably the result of a Dust Explosion
In the early hours of Sunday 7th Feb 2016, during an overnight shift at the Feed Mill, the plant was severely damaged by a violent explosion which left one worker dead and several others injured. http://www.11alive.com/story/news/2016/02/08/rockmart-explosion-jcg-farms/80000324/
Lives are still being lost due to poor understanding of the risks involved in working with flammable powders / dust. Agricultural dust are flammable as are 80% of organic based dusts. OSHA in the USA take this very seriously and produce a useful poster to improve staff awareness of combustible dust. See the following link to download a copy: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/combustibledustposter.pdf
For further information on Organisational Measures, DSEAR Assessments, Permit to Work, Management of Change, and safety training, please contact our Technical Support Team on 01962 840570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trade Effluent/Waste Discharge Analysis
Our environmental contaminates company ELAB, can provide a tailored waste discharge report covering all the typical contaminates limited and controlled by the waste sewage undertakers:
- Toxic Metals (Chromium, Lead, Mercury, Zinc, Copper, etc.)
- Hydrogen Cyanide & Hydrogen Sulphide
- Dissolved Methane
- Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
- Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
- Organics (Hydrocarbons, Pesticides, Herbicides)
- Flammable Substances
The presence and levels of other contaminates can also be identified, so please contact John Wilson (01424 718618) our Technical Expert on Waste Discharge to discuss your particular reporting needs.
Buncefield Incident – Ten Years on
The COMAH Strategic Forum have published a document “The Buncefield Major Incident 11 Dec 2005 – Ten Years On”, outlining the finding and recommendations that should be adopted by Oil & Gas COMAH sites but all applicable to other industry sectors.
A key finding were identified as:
- Systematic Assessment of SIL requirements
- Protection again loss of primary containment
- Engineering against loss of primary, secondary and tertiary containment
- Operating with High Reliability Organisations using Leading and lagging indicators.
- Delivering high performance through culture and leadership
Competency, training and an active safety culture are key elements of a safe working environment.
In-company Training Courses: In-site, Bespoke Training Solutions
We at Sigma-HSE are passionate about safety in the workplace. Our dedicated experts provide identification and assessment of process hazards for manufacturing companies in Pharmaceuticals, Chemical, Waste, Energy, Food, Drink, Plastics and Agrochemical, to name but a few. At Sigma-HSE we share your desire to keep people, plant and brand investment safe from the risk of fires and explosions.
Our training courses are based on years of experience from our Senior Engineers and are delivered by speakers who have been providing real world safety solutions to industry for over 30 years. Their dedication and insight together with decades of technical expert knowledge, provide a rich content for our Training courses, which will inspire your staff to tackle safety concerns and instil a culture of safety and performance in the workplace.
CSB Release Safety Video CAPECO Incident: Filling Blind
Following the release of the final report on the Caribbean Petroleum Refining Tank Explosion and Fire in Oct 2009 they have also released a safety video called filling blind available from their website at: http://www.csb.gov/caribbean-petroleum-refining-tank-explosion-and-fire/
The CSB is an independent US federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The CSB conducts root cause investigations of chemical accidents at fixed industrial facilities. Incidents such as this are sadly not uncommon (i.e. Buncefield 11 Dec 2005) and near misses probably happen more often than we would expect. Our Process Safety Consultants can help identify potential risk areas and work with you to reduce the possibility of fires and explosions from your processes.
For hazardous process risk assessment contact our Technical Manager, Mike Weaver on 01962 840570 or email email@example.com.
HSE Release NEW Flammable Liquids Publications
HSE has completed a review of its publications dealing with fire and explosion hazards associated with flammable liquids. The following publications are now available for purchase or free download from the HSE website, www.hse.gov.uk:
HGS176 – The storage of flammable liquids in tanks http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg176.htm
HSG51 – The storage of flammable liquids in containers http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg51.htm
HSG140 – Safe use and handling of flammable liquids http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg140.htm
For further information on handling flammable materials and mitigating the risks from fires and explosion contact our Technical Support Team on 01962 840570 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background information on the test standards we use the methodology and key benefits to clients have now been published on our TESTING web page. The tests covered are MIE, MIT, LIT, Explosion severity, MEC, LOC, Burning Rate, Burning Behaviour, Air Over Layer, Bulk Powder Diffusion Cell, Aerated Cell, Flammable Limits and a range of Electrostatic properties tests. See our dedicated testing page for more information.
India Clients Delighted with our European/Indian Expert Team
A leading international food company has been delighted to work with our combined India and European Team in the provision of in-house training and ATEX safety compliance for all their sites and detailed assessments on two of their largest plants.
The key benefits to our client are lower cost projects, local professional support and the specialist knowledge and experience of European experts. We were also able to guide our clients on the benefits of specific test data to support their ‘basis of safety’ thereby keeping equipment and engineering costs to a minimum.
Further Expansion of our India Office
Developments are in hand to move our India Office into larger premises in Connaught Place, New Delhi, following further recruitment and our fast growing client base. Our new facilities will provide improved IT infrastructure and future proof our telecommunications and internet access for clients.
Top on the list of client needs is greater access to our practical training courses currently offered as public seminars in our calendar of event. The new premises will provide the connectivity to offer webinar based services removing high levels of travel cost when supporting multiple sites with a consistent training message.
For further information please contact our client support team on +91 (0)11 3044 6630 to discuss your training support needs.
LEL/UEL Apparatus Provides Compliance of Gases using ASHRAE 34 Guidance
Sigma-HSE have upgraded our LEL/UEL system to provide specialised testing compliance of refrigerant gases using ASHRAE 34 Guidance. This makes us one of a small number of European test house that can provide video of ignition for this particular test.
Our existing LEL/UEL System can provide determination of the Lower Explosion Limit (LEL) / Lower Flammable Limit (LFL) and Upper Explosion Limit (UEL) / Upper Flammable Limit (UFL) for gases and vapours, either individual substances or mixtures. This data is essential for assessing risks in processes involving flammable liquids.
For further technical information on this service please call Mike Weaver on +44 (0)7513 450644 or email email@example.com to discuss you testing needs.