International Hazards 27: RPS Lectures on Fire Analysis

31 May 2017

RPS Attends IChemE International Hazards 27 for knowledge sharing and networking in fire analysis, and Formula 1 safety.

A team of RPS Risk Management experts, namely Andrew Garrison, Jon Lowe and James Daley, recently attended the IChemE International Hazards 27 event held at the Birmingham ICC this month where James also presented his paper on Safety System Fire Analysis.

James’ very popular lecture was successfully delivered to a near-full capacity room of risk management and engineering professionals. His presentation attracted considerable interest in its academic content from clients and insurance professionals, including a representative from Swiss Re who was very interested in the fire loading sensitivity analysis studies that RPS Risk can undertake, and how these studies can assist their assessments in relation to insurance premiums by providing data on the potential size and severity of a fire, and thus the endurance required of walls, columns, doors and other parts of an enclosing fire compartment.

Amongst the other technical lectures, of which numerous sessions ran simultaneously throughout the very intensive event, Andrew, James and Jon were fortunate to be able to attend the Trevor Kletz Hazards Lecture examining reduction of fatalities in Formula One racing. The lecture, entitled ‘The Race to Zero – the Drive to Eliminate Fatalities and Injuries in the High Risk Environment of Formula 1’ was delivered by motor racing professional Mark Gallagher – MD for CMS Motor Sport Ltd and co-owner of Status Grand Prix. His long career experiencei has provided him with first hand understanding of the pressures to win in motor sports and involved working closely with many key Formula 1 engineers and drivers.

The talk included many examples of process safety failures and none more prominent than the high-profile losses of Ayrton Senna and Jules Bianchi. The F1 management team, led by Bernie Ecclestone took the recognition of the danger in motor sports extremely seriously following Senna’s death and started to truly push to achieve something much closer to the consumer focused indicator for safety performance of Zero driver fatalities. This was a key performance indicator but it was obviously not the only focus for the change to be undertaken. A surprising statistic presented was that Formula 1 viewing TV figures actually increased by 60% after Ayrton Senna’s death. Which can be interpreted in many ways but illustrates high risk sports hold a public perception of genuine danger but with that an excitement of risk-taking that is safely at arm’s length from the viewer. Although we have not worked directly for Formula 1 we do work in equally challenging environments where controlling the level of risk to a tolerable level in the context of workers and society is central to our expertise. We are currently involved with a major fertiliser manufacturer, who operates two top tier COMAH facilities in the UK, to assistance them with setting consistent and appropriate risk criteria to be used in their functional safety assessments and fire and explosion assessment within the scope of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR). We are keen to swap our visits to industrial high hazard process plants with Monaco in the future!

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