There are several areas of your organisation that could be damaged as a result including your reputation and site, in addition to the immediate impact on production and your customers.
What is a loss of containment incident?
Loss of containment, or LOC, incidents happen when fluid leaks, overflows or escapes during the chemical or liquid transfer process. The majority of incidents are small releases of non-hazardous material, but more serious releases involve larger quantities of hazardous chemicals and have wide reaching implications.
Research* shows that the majority of incidents occur during normal operation as liquids are transferred into or out of storage, a commonplace process in thousands of operations throughout the UK. The most frequent causes include operator error, isolation failure, overflow and detection failure; all contributing factors that could easily occur.
One thing is certain; every loss of containment incident has consequences. The impact and severity obviously varies from incident to incident, but the implications can be significant across several areas.
- Your customers – any incident will cause implications for production, with potential downtime impacting customer service and customer orders.
- Your reputation – a serious LOC incident could ruin a brand or company’s name and reputation for years to come.
- Your people – while most LOC incidents are small, self-contained and remain controlled, there have been large scale incidents where people have sustained serious and life-threatening injuries.
- High cost – a report by the HSE** found that average clean-up cost after an LOC incident was £16000.
On a wider scale, LOC incidents can cause damage to the environment including waterways and wildlife. Depending on the chemicals involved in your process and the location of your site, the environmental impact could be significant, incurring fines and financial penalties.
So are you doing all you can to minimise potential risk?
Understand your risk points.
Even with the latest technologies, highly efficient operations with rigorous routine maintenance programs will have areas where there is risk of a LOC occurring. Joints where different types of equipment connect and temporary connections, such as tanker connection points, are two such cases in points.
Once these areas have been identified, risk assessments and operational procedures should be revisited and rewritten if required and appropriate preventative equipment should be installed.
How can the risk of LOC incidents be reduced?
At Chem Resist, our years of experience in transferring and storing aggressive and corrosive chemicals has led to the development of ChemiGuard. ChemiGuard is a range of Offload and Dosing Cabinets to protect areas at risk of LOC incidents.
ChemiGuard Offload Cabinets include models compatible with both Pressurised and Pumped Tanker offload methods, with the Pumped Cabinet configured with the appropriate fluid transfer technology. ChemiGuard Dosing Cabinets provide protection during dosing applications and can be configured with the necessary pipework and pumps. All ChemiGuards include a range of safety features including an integrated bund to catch any spills or drips that might occur.
If you’d like to improve your site safety and understand more about preventing LOC incidents talk to the Chem Resist team – we can recommend the ideal ChemiGuard solution for your needs.
*Journal of Loss Prevention in Process Industries – Analysis of a loss of containment incident dataset for major hazards intelligence using storybuilder 2011
**HSE – Findings from Voluntary Reporting of Loss of Containment Incidents 2004/05Back to Blog