Fuel storage report draws line under Buncefield

A report outlining new standards for sites that store large volumes of gasoline have been published in response to the Buncefield disaster.

In December 2005 there was a major explosion at the Buncefield oil storage depot north of London.

In the intervening four years there has been a flurry of activity to tighten up safety to reduce the risks of a similar incident happening again.

This week, The Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) set up to carry out the recommendations of the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board has published its final report specifying minimum standards of safety and environmental protection for all UK sites storing large volumes of gasoline.

Announcing the report, PSLG chair, Tony Traynor, operations director of Ineos Refining said: “Major incidents such as the fire and explosion at Buncefield and that at BP Texas City remind those of us working in the petrochemical and major hazard industries just how important it is to ensure high standards in day to day control over the safe storage and use of hazardous materials.

“Industry and regulators have worked together to develop the guidance we are publishing today in order to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.

“We have moved beyond the pure science and engineering responses to develop ways to prevent a future incident. We have also critically examined the leadership issues associated with delivering what has to be excellent operation and maintenance of high-hazard processes.

“This report and its recommendations represent the outcome of a tremendous amount of work by the industry, trade unions and the regulator.

“I would like to thank them for all their efforts, tenacity and input. Our work can and will make a significant contribution to improving process safety – the challenge for all of us now is to deliver.”

Peter Baker, Head of HSE’s Chemical Industries Division the report sets out much more than purely technical solutions required for the safe operation of a large-scale fuel storage site.

“It encompasses the important leadership, managerial and human factors issues that lie at the root of many serious incidents,” he said.

“Monitoring the implementation by industry of these recommendations, some of which are already in progress, is a priority for [regulators], and will form part of our intervention and enforcement strategies.”

Sam Bond

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