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Case Studies » Dale Power Solutions

The challenge

A visit was made to a client of Dale Power Solutions; the site at Stockton, Teesside was visited on 26th January 2015 to carry out a risk assessment in regard to requirements of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). The assessment was specifically requested to consider arrangements for the diesel generator fuel tank installation at the premises.

The purpose-designed diesel fuel tank incorporates a double-skinned design and is located within a bunded facility in a designated outbuilding to the rear. The diesel generator is located in an adjoined enclosure, while the outbuilding also includes a gas-house, secure recycling facility and maintenance store enclosures. 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.

The solution provided

The DSEAR report considered the impact and inherent risk of ignition associated with generator operation on-site. In working with the company it is incumbent on us to support site arrangements that may lead to reduced level fire and explosion risk. The risk assessment focus is entirely upon the safety of diesel fuel tank installation and specific findings associated with site safety arrangements outlined by facilities staff at the time of survey.

Diesel fuel is a class 3 flammable & not an obvious DSEAR hazard given a flashpoint temperature is quoted at >55°C and autoignition temperature >250°C applies. However it is technically flammable in vapour or mist form – and presents some risk.

Where an explosive mixture builds-up in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area to concentrations that exceed LEL value, a local dust / vapour cloud may be ignited by a spark, heat or other means. Materials with a low flashpoint or ignition energy present most hazard but worst-case scenario approach is generally adopted to ensure a margin of error in determining the likelihood of fire or explosion. Diesel will not easily self-ignite without an impact from flammable or reactive materials.

DSEAR hazards associated with diesel storage tanks are considered negligible where fill / transfer rates are controlled at pumping pressures typically < 5 barg. Adequate inventory management, maintenance and fire fighting provision is essential and bund integrity should be checked regularly.

Significant findings from the survey were clearly set out in the detailed report provided, along with recommendations to mitigate fire & explosion hazard or support best practice on-site.