Many industrial sites, especially those which are older or have expanded over the years often contain buildings (including pump houses, control rooms, etc) that are at risk if there is an explosion from any part of the process on site. Offices, commercial premises or even housing communities may be near the boundary of such a site and thus are themselves at risk.
HazRes helps clients and other organisations in identifying, quantifying and managing risks to both occupied and non occupied building, on or off facility sites. One of the largest explosions in recent years in the UK was the Buncefield Explosion in late 2005. Luckily, no fatalities occurred due to the time of day, but the damage to business premises and local housing offsite was substantial.
Businesses which are located close to a major hazardous site, whether they are a COMAH (Control of Major Accidental Hazards) site or not, should be aware of the risks imposed on them and how this truly affects their insurance premiums in the light of the Buncefield accident still remains to be seen. This may be a similar situation for private community housing close to major hazardous sites. COMAH sites which are within certain distances between each other need to share major accidental hazard risks as they may be defined as a domino site, with knock-on hazard potential.
HazRes has helped numerous clients with their obligations towards their Occupied Building Risk Assessment (OBRA) Studies, including COMAH sites that are not predominantly petrochem or refinery based, with the largest sites having over 300 identified occupied buildings. We have also recommended that all our clients look in-depth at buildings which are low or non-occupied, but retain a crucial and or safety function to the process in an emergency situation.
Such buildings include water pump houses for fire fighting and deluge control, control rooms, medical facilities, security facilities and emergency response buildings. Clients should also look at the redundancy of these facilities, if prevention through risk reduction and protection through hardening are cost prohibitive.
Terrorism is also a concern for organisations and there are serious issues to buildings and its inhabitants, if a bomb detonated. Due to the natural frequencies of the different building components, different terrorist organisations favour different types of explosives, to obtain their best effects. The way that the building components and the structure react as well how the building protects it inhabitants is extremely important, especially if it is determined using a Security Vulnerability Assessment of being a potential hit or target. Such building include, but not limited to, embassies, banks, crowd gathering buildings such as stadiums and shopping centres, public buildings as well as transportation, communication and energy infrastructure network buildings and facilities.
If you would like to know more or you would like to discuss issues relating to protecting your buildings from either accidental or malicious incidents, please contact one of HazRes’ consultants for an information discussion of +44 (0) 845 838 2026