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Case Studies » Bernard Matthews

The challenge

A visit was made to Bernard Matthews Limited at Halesworth in June 2015 to consider compliance in respect of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). This was identified as a gap in the operational assessments and the need to ensure compliance with DSEAR particularly in respect to storage and handling of Ammonia needed to be assessed.

The main activity of the site is to process, prepare and pack turkey meat; the site operates 24/7. The site has a number of plant rooms designed to provide a mix of chilled air, water, ice making facilities and air conditioning across the operations. All of this is achieved through the use of ammonia inside closed loop systems where ammonia gases are used to provide the ability to cool or freeze water or air.

The solution provided

Because of the nature of ammonia and the relatively high LEL (lower explosion limit) it is usual not to have to implement a hazardous zone inside plant rooms as any zoning would be restricted to inside the system itself. However as ammonia is also hazardous to health it is important to ensure effective fault detection to reduce the risks of persons entering the plant rooms.

It is important where the potential for an unplanned emergency exists there are procedures and system in place to account for such events; and these help to prevent a much more hazardous situation being created. The potential for a hazardous situation to develop should be low as long as there are robust procedures in place.

DSEAR imposes a requirement to eliminate or reduce risks to safety from fire, explosion or other events arising from the hazardous properties of any dangerous substance used in connection with a work process. To assist Bernard Matthews an assessment of the site was completed out in compliance with the DSEAR regulations 2002 and overall risk deemed as LOW. However feedback indicated a number of relevant actions that management needed to address. These were clearly laid out in an easy to follow action plan to enable the business to achieve both compliance and best practice.