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OSHA's PSM regulations require that facility siting be addressed in Process Hazard Analysis (PHA). Facility siting involves the assessment of the possible impacts of fire and explosion on life safety, structures, and equipment as well as the effects of releases of toxic substances and their ingress into buildings.

Traditionally, facility siting has a broad interpretation. OSHA's interpretation of facility siting includes the spatial relationship between the hazards of a process and the location(s) of people in the facility, particularly in occupied buildings such as control rooms. The importance of this aspect of facility siting largely was not recognized prior to the promulgation of the PSM standard. Issues that should be addressed in a facility siting study include:

  • Identifying hazard scenarios that could have significant effects on occupied buildings.
  • Identifying vulnerable locations of control rooms, and other buildings that may be occupied by people.
  • Spacing between the hazards in a process and the locations of employees in occupied buildings.
  • Spacing of process units and equipment.
  • Spacing between potential sources of flammable releases and ignition sources.
  • Domino effects, i.e.: the potential for an incident to propagate from one process area to another separate area.
  • Emergency response issues, e.g.
    • Availability of emergency equipment
    • Location of fire suppression systems
    • Accessibility for fire trucks
    • Accessibility of fire hydrants / monitors
    • Locations of emergency refuges and muster points
    • Ability of an occupied building to provide sheltering-in-place
    • Suitability of evacuation routes
  • Adequacy of hazardous area classifications

Numerous accidents have involved impacts on people because of their proximity to hazards, The Flixborough accident in the UK is classic example; 28 workers were killed and a further 36 suffered injuries. The entire plant was destroyed including the control room and the administration building. More recently, the BP Texas City accident in 2005 resulted in 18 fatalities. Temporary trailers were destroyed and in the control room the windows shattered and the roof collapsed. This accident focused a spotlight on facility siting. Every company operating hazardous facilities is expected to be aware of and must address facility siting.

OSHA expects that impacts of accidents on people present in structures such as control rooms, trailers, offices, and motor control centers be considered. A common way of complying with OSHA's regulatory requirement is to use a checklist of questions to identify, evaluate and control hazards associated with facility siting. More detailed Facility Siting Analysis (FSA) studies examine the ability of occupied buildings to withstand fires, explosions and the ingress of toxic materials.

Why Address Facility Siting?

Companies address facility siting not only to comply with regulations but also to meet industry guidelines such as those issued by the American Petroleum Institute and the Center for Chemical Process Safety. Of course, companies must do whatever is possible to protect the health and safety of their employees. Facility siting studies can protect not only people but also the process infrastructure resulting in financial benefits too.

Why Primatech?

Primatech has developed methods to incorporate facility siting into PHA studies and has performed FSA studies to investigate facility siting issues in depth. We have audited the facility siting programs of many companies. Primatech's FSA approach integrates established industry approaches including API RP 752 / 753 and CCPS guidelines. Primatech consultants select the best consequence analysis software modeling tools to meet the unique requirements of each FSA project. They understand how to meet applicable good engineering practices, such as API RP 752, and comply with applicable regulatory requirements.

Services Offered

  • Development of a Facility Siting program for your company.

    Primatech can provide advice and guidance on the content of a facility siting program tailored to your specific needs. We provide a written plan that integrates with your current systems and programs, and, if requested, provide assistance with its implementation.

  • Performance of PHA studies that incorporate Facility Siting

    We can help ensure your PHAs address facility siting to meet OSHA's expectations and requirements. The PHA report documents the approach used and the PHA worksheets contain entries showing the impact of Facility Siting on hazard scenarios.

  • Performance of Facility Siting studies to identify issues and evaluate the ability of occupied buildings to withstand fires, explosions and toxic material ingress.

    We can conduct studies on your entire facility or individual process areas. Toxic release, blast over-pressure and thermal radiation footprints are overlaid on the facility plot plan and an occupied building analysis performed. A report is prepared that documents the issues identified and provides an assessment of building integrity. Results of a FSA study can be referenced during a subsequent PHA study.

  • Auditing your current facility siting practices against regulatory requirements and/or industry best practices.

    We provide an audit report that identifies findings and presents recommendations for corrective actions. If needed, we can help you implement the corrective actions.

Primatech can perform studies for new or existing facilities. However, facility siting studies are best performed at the design stage when changes are more easily made.


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