Welcome to the second and final day of coverage from EIGA’s 2014 Winter Seminar. The day begins at 07.30 (GMT) until 09.05 (GMT) with the final set of presentations from the plenary sessions. Then at 09.30 (GMT) and 12.30 (GMT) there will be two separate stream sessions beginning at the same time - one about acetylene and the other discussing other flammable gases.

And that’s it. Another year’s Winter Session from EIGA has concluded.

The debate and information has been high quality and highly informative - promoting the safe usage of flammable gases.


14.20 (GMT) – “And EIGA is working to avoid authorisation of DMF. DMF is a solvent used in acetylene cylinders. It has advantageous element compared to acetone, but has additional health hazards.”

“EIGA is developing committees to justify the exclusion of the use of DMF in acetylene cylinders from authorisation. It is also working to evaluate potential substitutes to DMF.”

“EIGA is also working to limit the impact of asbestos restriction on acetylene supply and the UK is the first country where exemption is to be formally requested.”

“The group is awaiting the Health and Safety Executive’s feedback on formal exemption from asbestos restrictions in acetylene cylinders.”


14.10 (GMT) - “The objectives are to discuss the indirect of REACH regulations on acetylene in cylinders. And REACH foresees two mechanisms to reduce use of SVHC (substances of very high concern) Respiratory issues seems to be the focus currently.”

“The authorisation process is in place to assure that risks from SVHC are properly controlled and substances are progressively replaced. And these substances cannot be placed on the market after a given date, unless an authorisation is granted for their specific use.”


14.05 (GMT) – The final speaker of the day, Air Products’ John Duggan, is now taking to the stage to begin his presentation about the impact of REACH process on authorisation/restrictions on acetylene.


13.44 (GMT) BG RCI’s Bjorn Poga is now on stage speaking about the classification of hazardous areas into zones in acetylene plants – speaking in great detail about the analysis of zones and the concentration of flammable gases in the air.


13.38 (GMT) – “The storage of the product is key and must be kept away from water and should be stored in well ventilated areas. Equipment that can produce sparks.”

“The quality of the product is key. Too big means blockages and too small means you can not stop the reaction.”


13.27 (GMT) – After showing a video giving a historical description about Carburo del Cinca, Jordi Ventura began his presentation on the calcium carbide supply.

“Our product is used in acetylene production, steel and foundry industries, and the chemical industry.


13.25 (GMT) – “In conclusion, choosing the right location is key. It can take longer than expected. The best design is very subjective. The build phase will take 12-18 months. And finally in general you get what you pay for.”


13.15 (GMT) – “Lime is a big waste product from acetylene generation – you need to consider what you’ll do with all of this. Filling conditions is vital. The warmer a cylinder, the longer it takes to fill. Plant layout is also important and the key here for me is to follow the flow of the cylinder.”


13.10 (GMT) – On the stage now is Daniel Tregear who is speaking about acetylene production plant design.  “We looked at a whole load of choices for locations for the site to be constructed. We analysed issues like total KM travelled and price as the most important things, but also considered the population of nearby businesses and environmental receptors.”


13.05 (GMT) – “We have no clear cause for the cause of the incident but there were three clear lessons that were learned. Keep your site clear and clean. Use leak detection systems and temperature monitoring alarms to the carbide feed hoppers. And finally have a crisis management plan, an acetone system should be turned off and depressurised when not in use and to reduce the risk of leaks reduce the number of mechanical connections.”


12.55 (GMT) – After showing a collection of slides that showed the devastation caused by the incident, Mr Webb highlighted the issues after the site was no longer alight and the steps needed to make it safe. “We needed to work with local authorities and insurance assessors and had to build trust with these people instantly as we needed to get to the generator to make it safe and vent the 950kg of calcium carbide.”

“How we made it safe was to make a slide plate, unbolt the hopper, slide the plate in, bolt the plate to the hopper and move the plate to grade. This enabled us to empty the hoppers safely.”


12.50 (GMT) – Mr Webb provided details about an incident at the Air Products facility at Shah Alam, in Malaysia. “The fire brigade arrived within 20 minutes, which is a good response time, but flames were already reaching 50m in the air. It was out of control and did not attempt to fight the fire.”

“Nobody was injured, which was critical. But the fire was extinguished by about 8.35am and fire fighters continued to dampen down the scene until midday.”

“The production area was only partially affected due to wall between filling and production.”


12.35 (GMT) - Delegates are beginning to sit down so stream two, discussing acetylene, can begin. First to the stage, once the stream starts, is EIGA’s own Andy Webb who will be speaking about dealing with the aftermath of an acetylene plant incident.


11.05 (GMT) - That’s the first stream over with. The second stream, concerning acetylene, begins at 12.30 (GMT) after a lunch break.


10.55 (GMT) – Highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of all the sensor options, Ms Daugherty thoroughly analysed all the options available for placement, response time, sample flow required etc.

Bringing her presentation to a conclusion, she said there is “no single leak detection sensor that works in all cases.”


10.38 (GMT) – Last to the stage is Tammy Daugherty, from Air Products, who is speaking about the Challenges and options of leak detection.

“The gas is odourless, colourless, it ignite with a low energy input and has an invisible flame. The leak detection options are point detectors, sampling detectors and ultrasonic detectors.”


10.27 (GMT) – “There is still some work to be done regarding training, the adoption of a standardised refuelling process – including safety aspects and an alarm and response plan.”

“The user interface has to be simple and the station should never need manual intervention in emergency situations. International standardisation will be helpful to improve safety and operability.”


10.17 (GMT) – Safety considerations for operating hydrogen fuelling stations is the penultimate presentation of this sessions, provided by Shell’s Lars Zimmermann – who has also worked with Thomas Knoche from Linde.

“There are numerous initiatives ongoing in Europe, USA and Japan. With hot spots of development occurring in California, Germany, Japan and Korea. HRS are technically challenging and have some unique risks. You have to expect the unexpected.”

“The pressure can be up to 900 bar, staff at the stations can be unmanned with little surveillance and are often situated within densely populated areas.”


10.15 (GMT) – “Wind is good for the dispersion of a hydrogen leak to dilute the concentration. Some advice regarding a possible hydrogen tank installation is – get an agreement with the customer, contact the authorities prior to the official start and bear in mind this may be the authorities first installation – but it is not your first or the first installation of a tank. Pictures can support this.”

“Finally – there is no rigid framework for installations and keep in mind that it may take up to one year to complete.”


10.00 (GMT) – Peter Bout, from Air Products, has just begun his presentation about installing liquid hydrogen tanks – is NFPS 55 or EIGA Doc 06 suitable?

“The big advantage of the EIGA document is that the list suits all tank sizes – so it’s easy to use. But the disadvantage is no authorities or insurance companies have been involved in the creation of it.”

“With the NFPA document, it has involvement from authorities and insurance companies, but it is a US agreement so has no validity in the EU and there is no evidence that the stated distances make sense.”


09.50 (GMT – Mr. Carcassi explained the experiment that were carried out and concluded by saying “a new methodology to determine Safety Distance has been proposed and is based on data gained from experiments and not historical numbers.”

“Our work confirmed the influence of wind fluctuation on hydrogen concentration in case of release at low pressure. The term buoyancy is predominant.”


09.35 (GMT) – First to give his talk is Marco N. Carcassi, from the University of Pisa. His paper is about Experimental Tests of hydrogen Releases and Jet Fires.

He said, “The objective of our work is to produce an Italian Regulation for hydrogen transport by pipeline. Carry out data tests, checking the behaviour of different computer models and check the influence of wind on the tests.”


09.32 (GMT) – After a brief coffee break we now move into separate room for the streams on acetylene in one room and other flammable gases in the other – which is where we will be reporting from firstly before moving to the acetylene stream in the afternoon.


08.59 (GMT) - “Thinking errors occur when workers are presented with an unfamiliar situation. Competent people need to carry out these jobs. But even then this can not be enough - as there can be a distraction. These will call action errors (skill based errors).”

“For action errors - fixing the job will avoid errors. Design it so that users can not move from a safe area to an unsafe without something needing to be locked or unlocked.”

“With thinking errors - fix the person. Training will help this as will practice and access to accurate information.”


08.45 (GMT) – The final speaker for this session is Jon Cleary, from Linde, who is speaking about Human Factors in handling flammable gases.

“Over half on the incidents are human error or failure, but worse than that – only 9% are due to equipment failing – meaning humans are involved in a lot more.”

“Every person’s perception of a situation is different. Human error can be any number of things - like someone being in a rush, doesn’t see the need or risk to a situation, in a melting pot – can become and cause a very dangerous situation.”


08.34 (GMT) – “The authorities when they come to your site will expect a plan of action. You have to have a plan and you have to expect that something may go wrong and your staff and you will need to know what happens when it does go wrong.”

“In conclusion, we have the potential for SEVESO major accidents. Our industry record is good… until an accident. Emergency plans must be credible and used. We have a reputation to make for ourselves, or to lose overnight.”


08.20 (GMT) – Christina Fry, from Air Products, has now begun with her presentation highlighting the practical implementation of the SEVESO Directive for Flammable Gases Sites.

“SEVESO is a European directive with the intent to prevent major accidents to people property and the environment.”

“Midday of July 10 1976 an explosion occurred in a TCP reactor in one the chemical companies in Meda, Italy. If the wind was blowing in another direction, it would have been an international incident. Seveso, in Italy, was highly affected. Downwind from the factory the dioxin cloud polluted a densely populated area – immediately killing many animals.”

“There are two SEVESO standards with a third about to come into force in 2015 – including some additional rules to raise the standards operations are kept at to try and not have the accident in the first place.”


08.16 (GMT) – “Maintenance equipment has to be carried out by a trained person. The EPD as well as the ATEX needs maintenance. The EPD needs to be kept up to date and list all the substances, the people, and recorded all the emergency drills amongst other things.”

“There are months of work in these documents.”


08.00 (GMT) – On the stage now is Daniel Tregear, from Air Products, who is now discussing the “other half” of the ATEX agreement. “You have had 20 years notice of this coming into force so, hopefully, all of you are already doing this,” he said. “But in this explosive protective document – your responsibility is safety.”

“Thierry spoke of nice new equipment. But as you are all aware much of the things we use is older and does not have the labels that new machinery has.”

“The discovery of releases (like hydrogen) then have to be classified specifically like detailing what the pressure is, the point on the manifold, the size of line being used etc as this will help you calculate the size of release later.”


07.55 (GMT) – “The impact of the standard development is that the use of standards is a means to fulfil the essential requirements of the directive. The impact for the manufacturer is that with each new publication of a list of harmonised standards, the manufacturer has to check before the date of cessation of conformity of the superseded standard if its product is impacted by modifications, identified as ‘extension’ or ‘major’.”


07.38 (GMT) – “The objective of this presentation is to give you an overview of the regulation relating to equipment intended for use in explosive atmosphere,” he began.

“There are two ATEX directives. The first concerns design, construction, marketing and commissioned products and equipment – the harmonization of the essential requirements only and standardisation.”

“The second directive concerns the use of the products and the to raise the levels of safety at work.”

“Products included in the scope of application of the directive are – safety devices intended to contribute to the safe functioning of such equipment and autonomous protective systems – and systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.”

Mr. Houeix continued by listing the specific details of what the five categories of equipment in the directive means.”


07.28 (GMT) - With two minutes to spare the empty seats are quickly being filled as the room prepares for the final set of presentations from the plenary session. The first speaker is Thierry Houeix, from INERIS, who will discuss the basics of the ATEX regulation.