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June 2022

BakerRisk Q2 summer newsletter header

BakerRisk presented six papers for the 2022 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring Meeting and 18th Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS). Each year this conference draws in process safety professionals from around the world to discuss industry needs and lessons learned with the goal to advance process safety initiatives in industry. Click on our topics below to request our papers, and contact us to discuss these topics further.

This year, our team hosted a special tour for the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) Technical Steering Committee at our Wilfred E. Baker Test Facility (WEBTF). What better way to demonstrate potential industrial hazards than by performing live demonstrations and screening a solution for personnel safety with walkthroughs of our FORTRESS (Nameplate #1) protective building?

Over approximately 100 guests enjoyed a special evening edition of tests including a non-congested flash fire and congested deflagration in our Vapor Cloud Explosion (VCE) testing rig as well as a propane dispersion and subsequent jet fire from our Process Safety test rig. The tests lit up the night sky, allowing guests to appreciate the full force and impact of these common industry hazards. As one guest commented, “The heat… the blast wave, really put you in the center of it!”

Contact us to book your own personalized tour and hazards demonstrations, or sign up for a scheduled event!

BakerRisk presentations at the 2022 AIChE Spring Meeting and GCPS

“UNDER Investigation: Wanted, Missing RBPS Elements”

Authored by Mike Broadribb

Mike Broadribb headshot




When the 20 elements of CCPS Risk Based Process Safety (RBPS) were published in 2007, they represented a major improvement in risk management over the 14 elements of the OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation. Not only were several additional elements added, but the scope of many of those elements common with OSHA PSM were broadened. The author has successfully applied RBPS to facilities in countries that do not have process safety regulations, and to industries in the USA that are not covered by OSHA PSM. The author has also previously presented a paper on additional elements that could broaden the scope of

RBPS further to promote and drive greater risk reduction where appropriate.

World-wide facility incident investigation audits have frequently identified that symptoms and events were stated as the root cause(s). This failure to identify the true underlying root causes often resulted in recommendations that were unlikely to prevent recurrence of the subject incident. To assist companies in correctly identifying the underlying root causes, the author has developed a root cause analysis (RCA) technique that not only systematically drives the RCA to the fundamental underlying management system weaknesses, but also covers occupational safety, health, and environment (SHE); the 20 elements of RBPS, plus some of the additional elements from the author’s previous paper, such as human factors, and engineering project phases. This paper describes the issues and solutions in detail with examples illustrated from the RCA technique.

“Novel Approach for Blast Resistant Tent”

Authored by Matt Edel, Co-authored by Robert Dixon of Southern Comfort Shelters



In response to the American Petroleum Institute (API) guidance on siting of portable buildings and trailers in process plants, many facilities have recently been utilizing tent structures for cafeterias, break rooms, and other similar uses. The capacity of blast resistant tents to resist blast loads greater than the default tent types defined in API RP 756 must be demonstrated through modeling, calculations, or tests. A novel concept for the design of a blast resistant tent was tested and modeled for this purpose. A summary of the unique design and the supporting models and tests is provided in this paper. Models were developed using finite element analysis. Shock tube tests of the novel concept were conducted as well as full-scale tests that subjected the tent to blast loads from a vapor cloud explosion.

“Fire Water Fuel Tank (FWFT) Integrity Under Blast Loads from Vapor Cloud Explosions”

Authored by Tyler Paschal, Co-authored by Amandeep Sharma



For fire water pumps to maintain function, it is imperative that the tanks remain above the pumps and connected to them. If a flammable release and subsequent vapor cloud explosion (VCE) occurs near a fire water pump station, it is important to understand the impact the blast load will have on the fuel tanks.

This empirical study evaluated the blast response of 350 gal, 6 ft elevated diesel fuel tanks filled with an 80% equivalent weight of water to simulate a nearly full fuel tank. A deflagration load generator (DLG) directed blast loads between 1-10 psi and 50-180 psi-ms at a 3×3 array of nearly identical fuel tanks. Pressure gauges and high-speed video recorded the blast loads and dynamic response of the fuel tanks during testing. In addition to the empirical study, an analytical Finite Element Analysis (FEA) was conducted using LS-DYNA, with the purpose of modeling tank response at the 3 different tank orientations, under the empirical blast loading conditions gathered from the test data. This paper documents the DLG test program and the FEA modeling efforts described above.

“Auditing Under Pressure: Techniques for Compliance Auditing of Pressure Relief Systems”

Authored by Todd Drennen



Pressure relief systems are commonly considered as part of compliance audits for processes covered by the OSHA PSM standard (OSHA 1910.119: Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (8 FR 9313)) and the EPA Risk Management Plan (40 CFR 68, Subpart G). Their design documentation is a requirement a requirement of the Process Safety Information (PSI) element of these standards, and their proper inspection and testing is a requirement of the Mechanical Integrity (MI) element of these standards. This paper will evaluate the specific language of the above standards to provide guidance regarding their application to pressure relief systems and will discuss techniques for the evaluation of pressure relief systems within the context of a compliance audit. Additionally, this paper will provide examples of compliant documentation regarding pressure relief systems, as well as examples for documentation for which compliance auditors should generate findings.

“Fire Pre-Plans – What to Know When Things Get Hot”

Authored by Roshan Sebastian, Co-authored by David Black



The process of developing a fire pre-plan should involve all the stakeholders that are directly or indirectly concerned with the facility emergency response plan and ought to be built on the foundation of a detailed “Fire Hazard Analysis” (FHA) of the facility.

An FHA is referred to as a “Fire Hazard and Mitigation Analysis” (FHMA) when it also includes a thorough review and analysis of available and necessary mitigations that already exist and/or those that may be recommended at the facility, in addition to examining the potential consequences of the fire. Such a process ensures a more comprehensive examination of both the fire hazards and the available protection systems, emergency response capabilities, and other supporting resources.

This paper will illustrate how unit-specific fire pre-plans can be developed using the data derived from the FHMA. The stakeholder involvement and interaction of a well-conducted FHMA develops ownership of this unique pre-plan development and implementation process. Moreover, the resultant pre-plan will be an evergreen document that can be easily updated to include site changes.

“Quantifying Lithium-Ion Battery Hazards”

Authored by Gabriel Shelton



Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are used in a variety of applications to provide energy on demand, collectively known as Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) when assembled into racks of modules. Unfortunately, Li-ion batteries also have the potential for hazards such as fire, explosions, and the release of toxic gasses, which have the potential of amplifying hazards as BESS. Depending on the arrangement of the racks and modules, the hazards have the potential to propagate between batteries, modules, or even rack-to-rack. The consequences of the hazards are dependent upon many factors including the chemistry of the battery, the arrangement of modules and racks, and the overall geometry of the BESS equipment group or enclosure. In this paper, the author describes how thermal runaways can occur in BESS and evaluate potential blast impacts and resulting structural response due to release of flammable gas mixtures from BESS systems. Finally, this paper will discuss how the blast load predictions for the BESS systems can then be utilized to develop compound blast contours for the BESS facility site for personnel injuries and/or building damage.

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