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Hazardex 2014 Conference & Exhibition review

12 March 2014

The 2014 Hazardex conference and exhibition, held for the first time at the Holiday Inn in Runcorn, proved a great success, with delegates particularly positive about the conference presentations and the new location.

Delegate Ian Reynolds of Sellafield Ltd commended the conference  organisation and quality of the presentations. Steve Gerrity of Equalizer International said: “My area is very specific, but I found the range of presentations very good.”

For an overview of those presentations, see ‘Thoughts from the Chair’ below by the two conference chairmen, Ron Sinclair MBE and Ron Bell OBE.

Although the main focus of the packed-two day event is the conference, the attached exhibition is also an important element, and the 2014 event saw 19 companies in the hazardous area sector display their products and services to the assembled professional audience.

In the exhibition, show sponsors Intertek and R. Stahl had pride of place.

Other exhibitors ran the gamut from process control electronics and software to consultancy, certification and training, with a number providing niche technical solutions to the hazardous area industry. A list of 2014 exhibitors concludes this piece.

The event offered exceptional opportunities for networking, with attendees from government agencies, regulators and certification bodies meeting up with senior engineers and safety managers from the high hazard and process industries to share their experiences.

These opportunities came to their climax at the drinks reception and Gala Dinner at the end of the first day, with after-dinner entertainment provided by the well-received stand-up Josh Daniels.

Delegate Rob Stockham of Moore Industries said: “The dinner was enjoyable, and I found the whole event to be of interest. There were no low points for me.”

Both John Surtees of the National Grid and Rosie Jardine of Corriegorm Consultancy particularly praised the opportunities for networking at the event. Grant Hall of AWE said: “I found it all very useful indeed, and will try and attend again in 2016.”

Peter Baker, Acting Director, HSE Hazardous Installations Directorate
Peter Baker, Acting Director, HSE Hazardous Installations Directorate

The organisers are looking into holding further Hazardex regional events later in 2014, with announcements on likely formats and venues available in the next few months on

Hazardex 2014 Conference - Thoughts from the Chair

Day 1 - Ron Sinclair

Every time I chair a HazardEx conference session, I am amazed at the quality of both the speakers and the subjects.  This year was no exception, and with over 200 attendees, many of them in the conference for all sessions, it was an ideal event for brushing up on existing knowledge and learning about new developments in the world of safety.

Peter Davidson from UKPIA opened proceedings with some thought-provoking input on Competency Management Systems in the process safety context, and was followed by Peter Baker of HSE’s Hazardous Installations Directorate, who challenged high hazard industries to build on recent initiatives on competence and process safety leadership to build a safer future for the sector.

He called for companies to move up a gear, particularly when it comes to sharing information on challenges and achievements.

HSE recently published the long-awaited revision to the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) relating to DSEAR and the ATEX User Directive. CFIOSH Consultant Roger Bentley guided us through some of the new material in the extensively revised L138 and emphasised which points were new and which were brought in from deleted ACoPs.

Guillaume Vannier of the Fire and Blast Information Group (FABIG) brought us up to date with the latest research into explosions. Particularly interesting was the modelling and demonstration of the effect of “congestion” on the development of an explosion or fire where the path may be partially obstructed, as with superstructure on an oil platform and, notably, in the case of the vegetation around the Buncefield site.

Functional Safety Expert Tino Vande Capelle asked the question: “Why is it so difficult to learn from someone else’s mistakes?”  The human being remains the weakest link in the safety chain even with improvements brought about through the adoption of 61508 (SIL capability of components) and related standards.  (An article based on this presentation can be found in the April edition of Hazardex.)

Functional Safety Expert Tino Vande Capelle
Functional Safety Expert Tino Vande Capelle

Risknowlogy Managing Director Dil Weatherill looked at hazard and risk analysis, with a particular focus on the need to cover all the bases when it comes to risks. The point was well made that it is necessary to look beyond the obvious dangers.

In the final paper of the day, Sabre Safety Technical Director Allan Cameron presented the latest information on the hazards associated with hydrogen sulphide.  This gas, which occurs as a by-product of many well-drilling activities and the related storage and transport of oil and gas, provides both a health and environmental challenge.

Altogether we had a well-balanced programme with something for everyone, and the audience took a lively part in proceedings in the Q&A sessions after the presentations.

Day 2 - Ron Bell

The first presentation, by Clive de Salis from the Murco Milford Haven Refinery, looked atCOMAH site inspection from an end-user’s perspective. In a post- COMAH reportinspection, HSE has asked for a demonstration of DSEAR compliance. Thepresentation set out the key challenges, and emphasised the operational benefitsof using basis of safety documentation in the compliance process.

John McKenzie,the Regulatory Affairs Manager of UK nanomaterials specialist Thomas Swan, providedan introduction to carbon nanotubes, graphene and other new materials, and thespecial safety requirements in place to manufacture and commercialise thesematerials. I, and I think many others, found this very interesting having previouslyhad very little knowledge of the topic.

Graham Finn, headof HSE at EDF Energy’s UK generation plants,  looked at the rigour necessary in achievingand maintaining safety at nuclear generation facilities. (An article based onthis presentation can be found in the April edition of Hazardex.)

Richard Gowland,the Technical Director at the European Process Safety Centre, delivered apresentation entitled: "Atypical scenarios: Known and unknownunknowns". Starting from the Donald Rumsfeld Iraq WMD statement, a"Known/unknown" table was used to analyse a number of major incidents,and the question was raised if both Buncefield and Fukushima happened becauseof  "Unknown unknowns". Thefollowing discussion led to a very interesting debate.

Dr John Ford,formerly an HSE Mining Inspector and now an independent consultant, spoke aboutrisk control measures relating to explosion prevention in coal mines. Thepresentation covered the control measures that are employed by mine operatorsto prevent dangerous accumulations explosive gases, the control of potentialignition sources and methods of preventing a gas explosion propagating into acoal dust explosion.

Finally RichardFarnish, a Consultant Engineer at the Wolfson Centre for Bulk SolidsHandling Technology, looked at the safe storage of bulk materials in silos, andparticular risks that can produce hazards.

The presentations on the second day covered a wide range ofprocess safety issues and I'm sure that they provided food for thought forthose in the audience in relation to their own responsibilities.

Hazardex 2014 Exhibition

*Event sponsor Intertek  has numerous test and assessment locations worldwide and a large and experienced team with over 50 dedicated Hazardous Locations staff. The group has the largest set of CompEx training facilities in the UK, with a satellite training facility in South Africa.

*Event sponsor R. Stahl has maintained technological leadership in hazardous area systems for many years. Its latest offering is a new range of  I/O modules, IS1+, a future-proof system solution for complex requirements.

*Calibration specialist Beamex displayed its range of intrinsically safe calibrators, including some recently introduced models.

*Charter-Tech specialises in the design and integration of safety critical and process control systems for duty holders, OEMs and engineering companies operating in the high hazard and other sectors.

*Chilworth Technology/DEKRA offers best-in-class consulting, laboratory testing, training, project engineering and specialist instrument supply, amongst much else.

*C&P Engineering Services specialises in high hazard industry inspection, verification, installation, modification and repair.

*CSA Group-Sira is a world leader in the conformity assessment solutions field, specialising in the explosion safety of equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres.

*Denios UK designs, manufactures and supplies a comprehensive range of products relating to all aspects of hazardous materials storage, environmental protection, and health and safety at work.

*Dräger specialises in the fields of medical and safety technology, focusing both on personal safety and the protection of plant and production facilities.

*GSE Systems offers support services for regulatory compliance in all elements of the electrical, control and instrumentation disciplines.

*Hima-Sella is a leading specialist designer and supplier of programmable and hard-wired safety-critical integrated control and automation systems.

*Long O Donnell provides expert engineering advice and support through the delivery of sound and innovative solutions to complex problems, from inception through to completion.

*Newson Gale is a world leader in hazardous area static grounding control for high hazard industries, including static ground indicators, grounding clamps, cables, reels and test instruments.

*Motion and fluid control specialist Norgren has introduced the RVM valve control, the first SIL approved system to be commercially available for redundant applications.

*Petrel manufactures lighting and control equipment for use in hazardous areas, and has recently launched the PLK LED range for Zone 1/21.

*Rembe is a leading specialist for process safety and explosion protection, with particular focus on intelligent safety concepts.

*Scattergood & Johnson specialises in ex-stock distribution for some of the world’s leading Hazardous Area and Automation equipment manufacturers.

*SGS Baseefa is a  leading certification body for explosion protected equipment, providing an accessible yet authorititive source of expertise in many related areas.

*Siemens Industry  has an unmatched offering of automation, industrial control and drive technology, with extensive service, support and training activities.

*Terrington Data Management provides mobile computing and software systems that enable users to implement effective maintenance and Ex inspection strategies. 

*Werma has an extensive range of innovative Ex products, ranging from signal beacons and signal towers to horns and sounders.

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