The chemical industry in the UK is heavily regulated. Legislation such as the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations and the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) ensure that businesses:
Through the enforcement of these regulations, the Competent Authority has identified a number of loss of containment events that were attributed to structural failures in the built infrastructure. Incidents of this type always have a significant impact on site safety and business performance for the organisations involved.
Consider the Buncefield disaster as an example of a failure in secondary and tertiary containment that had catastrophic environmental consequences:
As a result of the investigation into the Buncefield incident, the BSTG recommended that, “bund walls and floor construction and penetration joints should be leak-tight” and that “surfaces should be free from any cracks, discontinuities and joint failures that may allow trans-boundary migration”. The BSTG also recommended that “Joints in concrete or masonry bund walls must be capable of resisting fire.”
These recommendations led to the Competent Authority establishing a Containment Policy for Bulk Hazardous Liquids at COMAH Establishments which provides the risk control measures that are the good practice that generally constitute the minimum level of compliance for Secondary and Tertiary Containment on chemical sites.