The importance of good design criteria cannot be over-emphasised. With a complete understanding of requirements, designs can be optimised and minimal problems will be encountered.

As Lord Cullen’s Report emphasises, however, major hazard plant design requires more than good professional engineering standards.

An essential feature of optimal design for new installations or processes is the experience at operating level which has been integrated into the design team. A good management system should be able to demonstrate that the major hazard plant which it is operating has been designed with the benefit of such operating experience input.

All projects should have a detailed safety plan of studies and activities from the earliest concept stage. The contents of the safety plan will be mirrored in much greater detail within respective sections of the FSA. The elements of the safety plan must be interactive with the development of the design, and safety must not be considered as a "bolt on extra" at the end of the design.

The safety plan presents a structured approach to safety management through all design phases, construction and subsequent modification. The planning, timing and purpose of quantifiable or logically justifiable techniques are incorporated in the safety plan which can then be referenced as the guiding document for a particular project design.

It cannot be stressed too highly that integrity of containment is a key parameter for the safe management of major hazards.

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