Focus Article - Conducting a Facility Siting Study

For decades industry has been learning hard lessons about the risks to personnel in occupied structures located within manufacturing facilities. Accidents that occurred in Flixborough (1974), Hickson and Welch (1992), and Texas City (2005) are all examples of fatalities resulting from personnel being located too close the process hazard without adequate protection. These events have led to significant changes in risk assessment, specifically with regard to occupied structures. Today, companies conduct Facility Siting Surveys (known outside the US as Occupied Building Risk Assessments) to evaluate these risks and provide appropriate risk reduction measures.
This article will discuss what is included in, and how to conduct, a Facility Siting Survey (FSS). It will also review the potential hazards to consider, how to identify vulnerable structures, how to determine potential consequences, and how to impact the effect on personnel.