CSB Urges Better Guideline on Siting Refinery Trailers

William E. Wright, a board member of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, yesterday asked the American Petroleum Institute to revise its draft recommended practices for siting portable buildings in and around hazardous areas of refineries and chemical plants. "Our investigation of the tragedy at the BP refinery showed an urgent need for the industry to revamp its procedures for locating trailers and other portable buildings," Wright said during the 22nd Annual International Conference of the Center for Chemical Process Safety. "While we appreciate the response by API to our recommendations, we are concerned that their draft Recommended Practice 753 does not effectively address the issue and would fall short of providing workers the safety they need when working in temporary facilities at petrochemical plants."

"As the CSB has noted in a formal letter to API, our investigation clearly indicates that temporary structures can pose serious risks to occupants when they are sited near hazardous areas," Wright continued. "Guidance for the industry in this matter, therefore, should explicitly seek to minimize the use of these structures near hazardous areas." Recommended Practice 753, Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Plant Portable Buildings, is expected to be issued in final form during the first half of 2007. Wright said it fails to establish minimum safe distances for trailers and similar structures from hazardous areas; does not provide specific guidance to protect occupants from accident hazards or comprehensively address the potential hazards of trailers; and does not include a clear definition of occupancy.

API (www.api.org) is the largest oil industry association. For more information about CSB's concerns stemming from the BP explosion, visit www.csb.gov.

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