Process Safety

Services Process Safety


Continued listening and understanding the challenges faced by Owners and Operators led AXIOM to review its offerings, and a strategic decision was taken to deliver Process Safety and Process Safety Engineering Services. Whilst many other firms in the sector offer such services, AXIOM’s capability to integrate Process Safety with its existing complementary disciplines stood to offer a unique value proposition to its clients.

The importance of effective Process Safety is well understood, with incidents such as those at Buncefield, Bhopal and Sevesco in mind. However, the ability to effectively identify and mitigate these key plant risks, whilst also offering wider strategic advice that maximises return on assets, has been enabled through AXIOM’s integrated offering.

AXIOM now delivers Process Safety Engineering and Process Safety Consultancy Services to improve safety and performance to operators and owners across a range of industries including energy, chemical pharmaceutical, oil&gas, bulk storage and distribution and food.

Collaborating with clients to identify common issues and concerns enabled AXIOM to craft client-focused, value-adding solutions The work undertaken has ensured our business is best-placed to manage through-life risks on plant assets and installations, taking full account of the expertise of Process and Operations specialists.

Operators are required to identify high-risk hazards associated with their manufacturing processes.

Process hazard assessment techniques are a structured approach to identify what can go wrong and identify what is required to prevent or mitigate the consequences. Process hazard assessment techniques can be applied at all stages of an asset life, to identify and evaluate the hazards associated with its operations, whether during feasibility, design, construction, commissioning, operation, or decommissioning.

Process hazard assessment techniques include, What If?, FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) and the two most commonly used techniques, Hazard Identification (HAZID) and Hazard & Operability (HAZOP) studies.

HAZID and HAZOP are systematic and structured studies carried out by multi-disciplinary teams using a set of guide words. The studies document existing layers of protection and identify additional safeguards required to prevent, protect or mitigate the consequence of the events. This may identify further quantitative and qualitative risk assessment methods required.

How can AXIOM help with this service?

AXIOM can identify and lead the appropriate process hazard assessment technique for your project. Through using the most appropriate process hazard assessment techniques AXIOM can facilitate essential inputs to project development and enable pragmatic and effective design decisions.
Services – AXIOM can provide competent people with the expertise and experience specific to your industry to lead and facilitate:

  • Inherent SHE Assessment
  • Hazard Identification (HAZID)
  • Hazard & Operability Study (HAZOP)
  • Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA)
  • Pre-commissioning & Commissioning safety review
  • Process Hazard Review
  • Verification and revalidation of hazard studies
  • Retrospective Process Hazard Assessment
  • Process Hazard Assessment Action management and close out.

Approach – AXIOM follow the guidelines provided in BS EN 61882 Hazard and Operability Studies (HAZOP studies), IChemE HAZOP Guide to Best Practice, specific industrial guidance or individual company standard.

Capabilities – AXIOM combines technical expertise with operational experience to develop pragmatic and effective solutions. AXIOM has Process Hazard Assessment experts with vast knowledge and experience working in high hazard and upper tier COMAH sites.

The benefits of process hazard assessment include:

  • Identify the major accident hazardous events that present the greatest risks
  • Ensures that adequate barriers are in place to eliminate or control the risk or mitigate the consequence
  • Provides justification for additional risk reduction measures to be implemented
  • Informs decision for selecting the safest and most cost- effective design
  • Provides information to develop an understanding of residual risk profile
  • Cost savings by minimising late design changes
  • Supports the development and maintenance of the COMAH safety report.

Consequence modelling is a critical component of process safety engineering that involves analysing the potential outcomes of hazardous events in industrial processes.

Industrial plants typically handle large quantities of hazardous materials and chemicals that are flammable, toxic, or explosive. The accidental release of these materials can result in a fire or explosion risk if an ignition source is present. Some of these substances could be toxic or cause serious health hazards that can lead to fatality. Past incidents such as Piper Alpha 1988, BP Texas City 2005 and Buncefield 2005 have shown that the release of hazardous materials can lead to severe consequences. The UK HSE is responsible for enforcing the health and safety legislation and best practices in the UK. Operators of COMAH sites are required to take all necessary measures to prevent loss of containment that can result in major accidents involving dangerous substances. Operators of high hazard sites are required to demonstrate that their risks have been reduced to ALARP.

How can AXIOM help with this service?

AXIOM can work with clients through the asset life cycle to identify and model the potential major accident hazards. AXIOM can lead hazard identification and consequence analysis to determine the impact of the release of hazardous material and their effect on people, the environment and company assets.
Services – AXIOM can provide competent people with the expertise and experience to lead and complete the following:

  • Identify all flammable, explosive and toxic materials
  • Identify credible accidental release scenarios
  • Consider potential for domino effects
  • Flammable or toxic gas dispersion
  • Fire modelling (thermal radiation modelling for pool fire, jet fire, fireball and flash fire)
  • Explosion overpressure (vapour cloud explosion, confined explosion, detonation)
  • Flare and vent studies
  • Cryogenic spill assessment
  • Passive fire protection requirement
  • Active fire protection requirement

For complex systems such as modelling detailed dispersion analysis, smoke movement or evaluating flame front acceleration in non-uniform geometries, our specialist can use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models to characterize the interaction of a hazardous releases with focus on specific plant equipment or structure.
Approach – AXIOM will tailor our service to suit the clients’ specific needs. For clients with fire safety engineer and in-house consequence modelling capabilities, we can provide independent validation or advisory service and training for your staff. We can perform initial process hazard assessments, gap analysis or detailed consequence modelling for your plant.
Capabilities – AXIOM combines technical expertise with operational experience to develop pragmatic and effective solutions. AXIOM have experienced Process Safety professionals with competency in the use of established tools such as DNV Phast and Flaresim to determine the impact and the severity of hazardous events such as fires, toxic release or explosion.

Benefits of consequence modelling

Performing consequence modelling provides several benefits including:

  • Better understanding of the hazards and consequence as a result of handling hazardous substances
  • Understanding of the possible outcomes of a fire, explosion, or toxic hazard incident
  • Ensures that adequate control measures are in place to mitigate the effect of an incident
  • Helps the plant designer to finalise the equipment design, plant layout, occupied building locations and process safety systems provided on your plant.
  • Consequence modelling report can be used as part of the supporting documentation for the predictive element of the COMAH safety report
  • Provides useful input for subsequence risk assessment e.g., Fire Risk Assessment (FRA), Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) and Occupied Building Risk Assessment (OBRA)
  • Supporting document to close-out HAZID or HAZOP actions.

Buildings situated on major hazard sites must be designed to withstand all foreseeable events including fires, explosions, and toxic releases.

Industrial plants handle large quantities of hazardous materials that are flammable, explosive, or toxic. An accidental release of hazardous substances can lead to a fire, explosion, or toxic gas dispersion. The risk to people located within buildings can be severe due to broken glasses or building roof collapsing as a result of the blast overpressure from an explosion. Flame impingement and high thermal radiation could damage the building structure and hinder personnel exit from the building. If occupied buildings are not properly designed, smoke or toxic atmosphere ingress can lead to serious health issues or fatality. The BP Texas City disaster in 2005 is an example of what can happen when occupied buildings risk assessment are not properly conducted. The explosion resulted in the death of 15 employees, 12 of which whom were working in a temporary trailer at the time of the explosion. The cause of death was as a result of being struck by structural components of the trailers.

The latest CIA and API guidance’s states that all buildings at risk from fires, explosions and toxic material release, that are intended for occupancy, regardless of the occupancy levels require an OBRA. Occupied Building Risk Assessment (OBRA) demonstrate that people located within buildings are adequately protected from the effects of a fire, explosion and/or toxic hazard. Operators are required to periodically update their OBRA to ensure that the risk remains ALARP regardless of changes to the site activities or building usage.

How can AXIOM help with this service?

AXIOM can facilitate and lead a detailed occupied building risk assessment to support the installation of a new building or assess the suitability of existing occupied buildings. AXIOM can work with clients to develop risk reduction measures and ALARP demonstrations to ensure that occupied buildings are in the most appropriate location and people within buildings are adequately protected from the hazards identified.

Services – AXIOM can provide competent people with the expertise and experience specific to your industry to lead and facilitate:

  • Initial assessment to identify occupied buildings
  • Occupied building risk assessment (OBRA) report
  • Support during new building design including determining the most appropriate location
  • Update or verification of existing OBRA reports
  • Develop risk reduction measures and ALARP demonstrations for existing occupied buildings.

Approach – AXIOM would apply the guidance provided by UK Chemical Industries Association (CIA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API) for OBRA of temporary or permanent building that are “intended for occupancy”.
Capabilities – AXIOM combines technical expertise with operational experience to develop pragmatic and effective solutions. Our team are competent in consequence modelling techniques, risk analysis and performing Cost Benefit Assessment (CBA) to demonstrate ALARP.

Benefits of an Occupied Building Risk Assessment

  • Ensures that building occupants are protected from fire, explosion, and toxic risks
  • Identifies safe escape routes to safe locations
  • Helps to develop the site emergency plan including post-incident recovery plans for emergency services
  • Recommend cost-effective preventive, control and mitigation measures to reduce residual risk to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP)
  • Ensure that the toxic gas refuge(s) can be reached from anywhere on the plant in a suitable time
  • Supports the COMAH safety report to demonstrate that people and the environment are adequately protected
  • Demonstrates compliance with CIA and API guidance for occupied buildings.

Pressure relief systems are a critical layer of protection. To achieve this, pressure relief needs to be considered at each stage of the asset life cycle.

AXIOM has both capability and expertise to provide pragmatic support throughout the pressure relief life cycle. From concept – identification of pressure system requirements and design through to consultancy and technical support, AXIOM will work with you to ensure your plant operates safely and satisfies regulatory compliance. Supporting a range of sectors and businesses globally, AXIOM can help you improve the performance of your plant assets by ensuring correct relief processes are in place with the assurance that the appropriate relief devices are used for their intended purpose. Total solutions are delivered by the integration of our Inspection, Materials, Mechanical and Process Engineering Services.

Fire hazard is a major concern in manufacturing when large quantities of flammable materials are handled.

Operators of COMAH facilities are required by law to carry out appropriate risk assessments of their work processes and to take appropriate measures to control and/or mitigate the identified risks.

A fire incident could endanger the lives of people both onsite or offsite and destroy valuable assets. A Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is required to identify potential fire hazards, identify the people at risk and take precautionary measures to prevent, control and mitigate the consequence of a fire.

How can AXIOM help with this service?

AXIOM can help you perform a detailed qualitative fire risk assessment of your plant to ensure that it meets current legislation.

AXIOM can support the regular review and update of your Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) and fire safety plan to ensure that they are up-to-date with changes on your site.

AXIOM can support the development of appropriate fire safety procedures and emergency response.

Services – AXIOM would provide a competent person with the expertise and experience specific to your industry to help you identify and assess all fire hazards on your plant.
Approach – AXIOM would apply regulatory requirements and standards, such as the UK’s Health and Safety Executive guidance on fire risk assessment for COMAH sites.
Capabilities – AXIOM combines technical expertise with operational experience to develop pragmatic and effective solutions. AXIOM has process safety and fire safety experts with vast knowledge and experience working in high hazard upper tier COMAH sites.

The benefits of performing a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) include:

  • Ensure that flammable materials are correctly identified and safely handled
  • Ensure that employee and contractors know and understand the hazards of the flammable and combustible materials handled
  • Ensure that the fire risk is minimised
  • Ensure that a fire incident is controlled and its effects mitigated
  • Verifies that emergency routes and exits are suitable
  • Verifies functionality and adequacy of the fire detection and protection systems
  • Aids the development of emergency plans and training
  • Demonstrates compliance with legal requirements (including COMAH and DSEAR regulations).

Operators have a duty to take all measures necessary to prevent major accidents and limit their consequence to people and the environment.

Regulation 7 of the COMAH Regulations requires operators of top-tier establishments to submit a safety report to demonstrate that they have taken all measures necessary to prevent major accidents from occurring and to limit the consequences to people and the environment should they occur. The UK HSE assesses operators COMAH safety reports using their Safety Report Assessment Manual (SRAM) which provides technical criteria for all elements of the report.

COMAH establishments are regulated by the COMAH Competent Authority (CA), comprising the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Under the COMAH Regulations, the CA has statutory responsibility to provide regulatory oversight of high-hazard industries using or storing quantities of dangerous substances that fall into the scope of the Regulations.

How can AXIOM help with this service?

AXIOM can assist with all COMAH associated requirements including preparation of a COMAH safety report to meet the requirements of competent authority (CA). The main aim of the service would be to deliver a safety report that can be used as a live document and integrate into existing management systems. AXIOM can support clients through the COMAH lifecycle from concept to decommissioning.

Services – AXIOM can provide competent people with the expertise and experience specific to your industry to facilitate:

  • COMAH awareness Training
  • Planning (Hazardous substance) consent applications
  • COMAH Safety Report development, review, and update
  • COMAH notifications
  • Consequence modelling
  • Technical audits and gap analysis of COMAH strategic topics
  • Competent Authority (CA) intervention support
  • Major Accident Hazard (MAH) identification using Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) techniques
  • Leadership and development of realistic COMAH revision action plans
  • Support with CA legal action responses
  • As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) and Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) demonstrations
  • Independent incident investigation
  • Development of Process Safety Management (PSM) systems.

Approach –. AXIOM follow HSE COMAH guidance, Safety Report Assessment Manual (SRAM), Safety Report Assessment Guides (SRAGs) and the strategic topic delivery guides as references. AXIOM will work with the client to deliver a service specific to the client using either AXIOM procedures or adopting client specific procedures and standards as required.
Capabilities – AXIOM combines technical expertise with operational experience to develop pragmatic and effective solutions. AXIOM has a team of competent engineers that are experienced in the operation of upper-tier COMAH establishments.

What are the benefits of a COMAH safety report?

Preparing a COMAH safety report is a legal requirement for upper-tier establishments. The report written correctly can provide below benefits.

  • Identify major accident hazards
  • Demonstrate compliance with UK regulatory requirements
  • Demonstrate that risk is reduced to ALARP
  • Manageable improvement plans based on risk prioritisation
  • Help the client protect people, the environment and company assets
  • Integrate Process Safety Management (PSM) systems to achieve a safe and productive work place
  • Support operators to build strong working relationships with the competent authorities.

Supporting the Asset Life Cycle