EMERGENCY SHUT DOWN SYSTEMS IN ONSHORE AND OFFSHORE PROCESS OPERATIONS

J PEARSON, PRINCIPAL SPECIALIST INSPECTOR HEALTH & SAFETY EXECUTIVE LIVERPOOL SYNOPSIS This paper describes some of the latest developments in the use of Emergency Shut Down Systems in process installations both onshore and offshore. The safety implications of these developments are discussed. The effects of common cause failures and human factors with examples of accidents are described.

The assessment of systems against HSE Guidelines, industry standards and future international standards is discussed and the changing offshore legislation. Keywords : Control, protection, communications, programmable electronic systems. INTRODUCTION HSE Inspectors are called upon to inspect and assess safety systems, in a wide range of industries having major hazard potential. Safety systems include Emergency Shut Down (ESD) systems, Fire and Gas (F&G) Detection Systems, Alarms and Control & Communications systems. The experience of Inspectors when assessing computer based control and protection systems in the process industries is that one cause for concern is inadequate design and specification. New and ever developing technology eg Smart transmitters Data Communications, Fibre Optics is being applied to Safety Systems on plants having high hazard potential. This requires the highest level of attention by the project engineers and designers at all phases in the lifecycle of the system. This is because the application of new concepts, systems or devices may affect the operation and safety of the plant. The HSE is not opposed in principle to these concepts nor does it wish to restrict development.

 

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