With the ever-increasing costs associated with major capital projects, there is significant pressure to achieve early production before the construction workforce has left the site to maximise return on capital expenditure. Indeed, with plants of increasing complexity, commissioning activities typically span several months during which period there will be many more personnel onsite than would be the case during normal operations.
Even after commissioning is long over, modifications such as debottlenecking, expansion and regulatory driven changes often require changes to be made to or near existing process units. Turnarounds of limited portions of the facility can place large numbers of individuals onsite. All these situations have historically occurred without shutting down the plant, resulting in potentially large numbers of personnel to be placed in close proximity to live equipment with subsequent impact on the onsite societal risk profile of the facility.
In this paper, we will discuss the impact of these situations on the (onsite) societal risk profile of facilities. We will discuss:
what this may mean for facilities operating under regimes requiring societal risk to be managed within criteria and how to reasonably assess these situations;
what are realistic criteria for these circumstances and how they should be applied; and
Impact of various mitigation measures on the assessment and whether these are practicable in real terms.
The paper will demonstrate that early assessment of these situations will lead to facilities with greater flexibility for capital expansion and help raise awareness of the hazards and ensure that the facility manages the risk to a level that is As Low As Reasonably Practicable.