HSE supports final Buncefield report

Published:  15 October, 2007

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has supported the final recommendations and guidance produced by a joint industry and regulator working group, designed to improve standards at petrol storage sites.

HSE says it believes strongly that implementation of the recommendations outlined in this report will lead to significant improvements in safety standards and the prevention of major accidents. HSE as part of the COMAH Competent Authority (CA) will be monitoring closely progress of operators in adopting these standards.

Kevin Allars, head of HSE's Chemical Industries Division, said: "This report provides clear recommendations on further enhanced standards we now expect at sites storing petrol. Working together the industry and regulator has agreed higher standards to reflect the lessons learnt from Buncefield and a new appreciation of the remote, but real, risk of a vapour cloud explosion from such sites."

Although predominantly aimed at operators of sites storing petrol, parts of the guidance should also be adopted by those operating other major hazard sites.

As a result of the new information learned from the investigation, the BSTG has been able to develop enhanced minimum standards of good practice for fuel storage sites. This was done by drawing widely on experience from regulators and industry, including around 70 experts from a wide range of backgrounds.

The work was undertaken in parallel but independent of the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board"s (MIIB) investigation into the incident. The BSTG was established as a task and finish group. As a result, to ensure sustained progress and provide more strategic leadership within the sector, a more permanent Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) will be set up, to be chaired by Tony Traynor, Operation Director, Ineos Refining.

The report, which was prepared by the Buncefield Standards Task Group (BSTG), can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/comah/buncefield/final.htm

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