Detecting Accelerants within Arson Investigation: The Size of the Arson Problem
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 19,000 intentionally set fires in the US during 2014 accounting for around 4% of all structural fires equating to more than $700m worth of damaged property. UK figures2 would suggest that more than 40% of fires in business premises and more than 20% in residential properties are intentional, whether for profit, revenge or just ‘kicks’.
But despite the fact that fire is a common, everyday phenomenon, it is a very complex chemical, physical, and thermal event. Investigative work will focus on the ‘fire triangle’ of oxygen, fuel, and source of heat or ignition, and in cases of arson at least one of these will have been tampered with.
H&S Operational Efficiency: Fugitive emissions
During normal operations, leaks can occur from pumps, valves, flanges, storage tanks or during loading and unloading.
According to the US EPA3, valves and connectors account for more than 90% of emissions from leaking equipment and there are hundreds of pieces of equipment as shown in Figure 3.
H&S Operational Efficiency: Plant turnaround
Hazardous chemicals that pose a risk to humans are normally safely transported within the process but obviously during plant turnaround this is no longer the case. As lines and reaction vessels are opened they pose a significant risk of over-exposure, without appropriate control measures.
Concentrations can be several hundred (or even thousand) times higher than the occupational exposure limit (OEL)!
H&S Operational Efficiency: A vital component of overall business strategy
Generally speaking, health and safety has historically been seen as a barrier to productivity, even the butt of the occasional joke. The worst scenario is people continuing to act in an unsafe manner when no one is looking thinking that in cutting corners they are getting the job done more quickly. However, there is now widespread consensus to the contrary that a strong health and safety (H&S) culture is good for business when viewed as an investment, not a cost and as a vital component of overall business strategy. Creating a sustainable business through continuous improvement leading to operational excellence (OpEx) is a major strategic objective.