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Managing Risks in Hazardous Areas: Facility Siting Studies

This article was originally published in September of 2017. It has been updated to reflect current industry findings.

Facility siting studies can help manage the risks associated with working in hazardous environments and can help prevent accidents resulting in major financial loss, injuries, and lost lives. 

RedGuard offers facility siting studies as part of their engineering servicesFacility siting studies are done to comply with regulations, meet industry guidelines and reduce the chances of public exposure. The OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.119 Process Safety Management regulation (known as PSM) requires a facility siting study to be carried out in a company’s Process Hazard Analysis (PHA).

What happens if I don't have a Process Hazard Analysis? 

Failure to conduct a PHA could result in fines from OSHA, as well as trigger actions with more far-reaching consequences. All refineries, petrochemical or other chemical operations, and other facilities covered by the PSM regulation are required to complete facility siting studies.

A facility siting study is a company’s roadmap to identify potential hazards and to develop mitigation options, so it is important that it is performed by a company that specializes in facility siting studies and hazard assessment. 

How does a facility siting study work? 

Since each worksite is unique, a clear analysis of potential hazards from explosions, fires and toxins is imperative. Once a thorough assessment is completed, the next step is to look at mitigation solutions.

Damage levels will be illustrated with overpressure maps of a calculated explosion, with an analysis of the impact to onsite buildings, from both an exterior and interior point of view. It’s also important to look at offsite areas and determine the response of each area to a blast.

If you're preparing for a facility siting study, you may want to check out our helpful checklist: 

Facility_Siting_Study_Checklist

How do I know what my mitigation options are? 

Some companies that provide the facility siting study will also make recommendations, other companies leave that up to the facility to find. It depends on whether the company provides a turnkey service or not. 

Once you have those recommendations and potential hazards are identified, work can begin creating safe spaces. There are a range of blast-resistant building options, including leased temporary modular buildings, or permanent custom modular buildings, that still offer top-tier amenities like those found in brick-and-mortar buildings. Sometimes you'll even find options that include turnkey pre-engineered buildings that are custom-quality, but can be ordered and delivered more quickly.

In a facility siting study, there’s always the chance that the mitigation options don't recommend new buildings at all, but instead recommend that existing buildings should be moved, or retrofitted.

What does RedGuard offer? 

RedGuard offers LeaseFleet, the largest rental fleet of blast-resistant buildings of its kind, and the more permanent SafetySuite, custom modular buildings that can include top of the line amenities and can be made to match the look of existing buildings. 

At RedGuard, we've developed a name in the industry for our dedication to safety and protecting lives and assets with our blast-resistant buildings. We also have turnkey engineering services – facility siting studies fall under this umbrella.

RedGuard also offers Blast Retrofit and Upgrade Design as part of its engineering services. To learn more about engineering services from RedGuard, contact us today.  

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