The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Hazardous Area Classification

Graham Marshall - Friday, September 30, 2011

Hazardous area classification is a common approach to controlling risk in working environments which may be prone to explosions due to the present of gas, vapour, dust, fibres or other atmospheric hazards.

In the UK, Hazardous Area Classification is governed by British Standard  EN 60079/10.

In Australia, there are two applicable standards to consider for area classification - AS 2430.1 governs areas prone to gas explosions and AS/NZS 61241.3 governs areas which may be prone to dust explosions. 

There are also US Standards for area classification under OSHA as well as international standards under the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC).

In the UK, hazardous areas are defined in Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR, 2002)  as "any place in which an explosive atmosphere may occur in quantities such as to require special precautions to protect the safety of workers".

In identifying the "special precautions" required, hazardous area classification is the method used to analyze and classify the environment where explosive atmospheres may occur.

The objective of hazardous area classification is to ensure the selection and installation of appropriate "intrinsically safe" plant and equipment to be used safely in the location, taking account of the properties of the hazardous substances that may be present.

In the UK context, the DSEAR extends the original scope of hazardous area classification from electrical sources of ignition, to now include nonelectrical sources of ignition, and mobile equipment that creates an ignition risk.

Hazardous areas are classified into zones based on an assessment of the frequency of the occurrence and duration of an explosive gas atmosphere, as follows:

Zone 0: Areas where an explosive atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods;

Zone 1: Areas where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation;

Zone 2: Areas where an explosive atmosphere is not likely to occur in normal operation and, if it occurs, will only exist for a short time; and

Safe Zone: Any area not expected to contain a hazardous atmosphere (e.g., homes).



Oilfield PPE Requirements

Graham Marshall - Thursday, September 29, 2011
In the United States, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) PPE standards apply to all oil-field work.

So what PPE should the typical oilfield worker be wearing for standard duties?

In the picture above, you'll notice a range of "best practice"  PPE behaviours, including:

  • Working wearing  eye protection meeting ANSI Z87.1;
  • Safety boots being worn meeting ANSI Z41.1 for safety footwear;
  • Hard hat being worn in compliance with ANSI Z89.1 for industrial head protection;
  • ANSI/ASA S12.6-2008 for hearing protection;
  • Worker wearing Fire Retardant Clothing (FRC) which meets the performance requirements set out in NFPA 70E (2009); and
  • Although there is no ANSI standard for hand protection, the worker is wearing gloves.


In addition, you'll notice that the worker is using good practice by wearing a four-way personal gas monitor (shown on front of shirt in close proximity to the "breathing zone") as well as company identification (on clip on belt).

Lastly, you should notice that the worker's shirt is tucked into trousers and sleaves are rolled down with cuffs fully-buttoned (to both enhance fire protection as well as minimize entanglement risk if working with rotating equipment).

The aim of all operators and contractors working in the oil patch should be to meet or exceed the standard for PPE compliance shown above.

HSE Search Terms

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, September 28, 2011
With this month marking the arrival of the 50 thousandth  visitor to our safety blog, I thought I'd check out and share with you the top ten most common google search terms that bring people to our website.  So here they are:

At number one, with over 4,000 individual hits is perhaps no surprise, it's "risk tool box";

In second place is the search phrase "psychological hazards";

3rd - JSA form;

4th - Importance of OHS;

5th - Safety observation checklist;

6th -  Safety awareness posters;

7th - Hazid checklist;

8th - Working at height JSA;

9th - Spot the hazard; and

10th - Piper Alpha.
So there you are, that's the top ten hits for our blog out of the thousands of search phrases that people type into google to bring them to our site.

If this is your first visit to the Risk Tool Box  blog, feel free to browse the alphabetic catalogue listing to the right of the page to find topics of interest. 

Australian Hydrocarbon Releases

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) has identified a marked increase in the number of hydrocarbon releases and spills occurring in Australia in 2010 compared to previous years.

In the period January to July 2010, NOPSA received 22 reports about hydrocarbon releases.

Twenty of these incidents involved gas releases with 16 of these occurring on Floating Production, Storage and Offtake (FPSO)  Tanker ships.

Three of the uncontrolled gas releases involved over 300 kilograms of gas.

According to NOPSA, the most common root-causes of these hydrocarbon releases included:

  • A lack of an appropriate level of preventative maintenance;
  • A lack of a routine inspection regime;
  • Inadequate training and competence amongst operators, supervisors and managers for hazard and risk management;
  • Inadequate procedures; and
  • Procedures not being following on site.


All the usual suspects really.

To read a NOPSA safety alert relating to this issue, simply click here.

Congratulations to Mark Cavendish

Graham Marshall - Monday, September 26, 2011
Fantastic to see Mark Cavendish take out the UCI Road Cycling World Championships for 2011.  Truely a Great British Sporting Hero and what a fantastic GB team effort to get him over the line.  Well done to all involved in Denmark.

Managing Hazards when Abandoning Equipment

Graham Marshall - Monday, September 26, 2011
Organizations will frequently stop using specific process plant or equipment, whole production units or entire facilities for weeks, months, or even years at a time.

The reasons for stoppages and/or abandonment of plant and equipment are often due to planned-maintenance shut-downs, tough economic times, seasonal variation in product demand, or changes in the manufacturing process.

In all cases, it is vital that sufficient management of change (MOC) of hazard conditions is undertaken when temporarily shutting down or abandoning equipment or facilities for longer periods than usual.

Always do a management of change review when removing equipment from service, either temporarily or permanently, or when removing abandoned equipment.

Pieces of plant or equipment which is out of service should be isolated from other parts of the operating process, emptied of all hazardous substances, and de-energized.

Do not allow abandoned or disused plant and equipment to be left  to rust and deteriorate.   Ensure that the abandoned plant is removed from site and disposed of appropriately.


Global Conference on Process Safety Management

Graham Marshall - Sunday, September 25, 2011
The call for papers is now open for the 8th Global Conference on Process Safety Management (PSM).

The Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) conference will take place in Houston, Texas between April 1st and April 4th 2012.

The program will feature topics on a range of PSM issues, including:

• Layer of Protection Analysis;
• Combustible dust hazards;
• Fire and explosion hazards;
• Mechanical integrity;
• Emergency preparation and response; 
• Material Hazard Characteristics;
• Human factors and human errors;
• Refinery safety;
• PSM  challenges for small organizations;
• Pilot plants, small-scale production, and laboratory safety;
• Hazards to marine installations; 
• The future of PSM; 
• Regulatory Impacts;   
• Management of change;
• PSM near hits;
• Societal Risk; and
• Integrating PSM lessons into an Company.

It sounds like a great programme!

AIChE Annual Meeting 2011

Graham Marshall - Saturday, September 24, 2011
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting will take place next month at the Minneapolis Convention Center (MN) on October 16th to 21st.

The AIChE convention is the main USA education forum for engineers interested in innovation and professional growth.

As in previous years, the 2011 meeting will address a wide selection of subjects but there is also a strong safety focus to the program.

Well worth attending if you're involved in Process Safety Management.

The Bakken Oil Field

Graham Marshall - Friday, September 23, 2011
I haven't posted a "thank God it's Friday" piece for a while so here goes with a few pictures I took on my recent project work across the Bakken Oilfield in North Dakota.

It really is a pretty place in the summertime.  See for yourself.

Bakken Production Tanks and Pump Jack amongst the sunflowers.

The Mighty Missouri River flowing through the middle of the Bakken Field.

The Bakken "badlands" near Willeston, ND.

Nautilus Minerals Awards Contract to RTB

Graham Marshall - Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Risk Tool Box has secured a new contract to provide HSE advisory services to Nautilus Minerals for the development of key HSE-Management System documentation and various types of hazard management training.

Based in Canada and Australia, Nautilus Minerals has three of the world's largest resource companies among its cornerstone shareholders and  it is the global leader in deep water exploration and development of minerals deposits.

Further information about Nautilus Minerals can be read in this fact sheet.

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