Secondary & Tertiary Containment

Achieving Competent Authority Best Practice

BuncefieldThe 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:

•  Take all necessary measures to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances

•  Limit the consequences to people and the environment of any major accidents which do occur

•  Establish facilities that are designed, constructed and maintained so as to reduce risk

•  Maintain facilities in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair

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:

“The failure of secondary and tertiary containment at Buncefield contributed significantly to the failure to prevent a major accident to the environment (MATTE).” Source: Safety & Environmental Standards for Fuel Storage Sites Final Report Buncefield Standards Task Group July 2007.

COMAH Competent Authority Policy

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.

Comah Structure Inspections provides specialist competent periodic inspection and certification of secondary and tertiary containment on chemical processing sites registered sites. Where areas of non-compliance are identified, we provide added value in the form knowledge and experience of specialist techniques that can be implemented to achieve compliance at optimal cost.

If you would like to find out more on how Comah Structure Inspections can help you achieve fully compliant Secondary and Tertiary Control measures please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Competent Infrastructure Inspection   |   Managing Ageing Structures   |   Secondary & Tertiary Containment   |   Our Credentials   |   Understanding Ageing Mechanisms
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