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Case Studies » Burn Stewart Distillers

The challenge

Burn Stewart Distillers Limited is a leading producer of Scotch whisky brands for the global market and operates in several different locations. Their headquarters is based at the East Kilbride site in Scotland where they also have a purpose-designed Vat Room for blending of whisky and other spirit-based products. An independent survey of operations associated with the Vat Room facility was undertaken at the request of senior management.

Facilities at the East Kilbride plant include a dedicated Vat Room building for blending of spirit-based distillery products to suit an extensive client base. Ethanol (or Ethyl Alcohol) is a significant component of these products and thus hazardous substances associated with this operation are unavoidable. DSEAR risk assessment therefore applies to Vat Room facility operations on-site.

The solution provide ——————————d

It is known that Ethanol-rich vapour can be generated if whisky is agitated or in contact with hot surfaces and will readily form an explosive hazard at mixtures in air between 3.3 & 19%. Hence, vapour may build up during spirit handling and all Vat Room operations are subject to DSEAR risk assessment. Based upon client feedback, working practice appeared to involve open-venting of vessels that would allow any vapour to escape the confines of process equipment and transfer systems.

Ethanol liquid expands to form much bigger volume of flammable gas that is usually much heavier than air – represents worst case scenario for spirit liquors. Ethanol vapour has relatively low ignition energy and control of ignition sources is paramount – as is suitable protection against electrical sparks or electrostatic discharge.

Clearly given the materials in use and the large volumes involved the importance of robust controls was vital to maintaining a safe workplace. The detailed report provided identified a series of recommendations to management around improvements in ventilation controls and ensuring sources of ignition are avoided in hazardous zoned areas.

What Burn Stewart Distillers said:

Thank you for your help in carrying out the DSEAR survey in our vat room at East Kilbride. The report was very comprehensive and professional. It highlighted all our short comings and provided the necessary recommendations to make us compliant. I’m sure we will do business with you again in the future.

Pat Berry
Burn Stewart Distillers