Risk Assessment Procedure and Documentation for a Hydrogen production Laboratory

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The risk assessment for the construction and operation of a steam-methane membrane reformer demonstrator is considered. The site for this demonstrator was a laboratory on the eighth floor, of a tower block surrounded by teaching rooms, placing large numbers of people in close proximity a potentially explosive apparatus.
The process involved a number of stages. Stage one was to prepare process flow sheets and operating procedures for the new demonstrator. Stage two was to perform a comprehensive safety audit of the laboratory and surroundings paying particular attention to the new demonstrator. The audit was guided by an industrial partner and looked at all aspects of the laboratory and the cross over impacts between the demonstrator and other work carried out in this shared facility. This audit identified the main areas of concern and was used to direct all subsequent work. Stage Three involved specific studies including but not limited to; gas inventories, acceptable flammable and toxic atmosphere calculations, DSEAR and COSHH assessments. Stage four was the detailed risk assessment comprising three parts; an initial assessment to identify areas of concern, extant control measures and quantify residual hazards; reduction of the residual hazards to as low as was reasonably practical by modification of procedures and systems; independent review of the risk assessment with special attention paid to any unconsidered hazards or hazards introduced as a result of the previous risk management measures.
An inherent safety approach was adopted due to the large number of people at risk and where possible multiple layers of protection were provided. The main risk comes from the storage of compressed gas in cylinders in the laboratory. Failure of a and venting of its contents represents the most catastrophic hazard. Therefore, gas cylinders use should be reduced to a minimum and where possible gases should be generated as required. Ventilation should be sufficient to prevent average concentrations reaching dangerous levels. Should gas cylinders still be required they should be fitted with automatic shut off valves to prevent release in the event of ventilation failure. A comprehensive gas monitoring and alarm system should be provided.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2020
EventH2FC Supergen Hydrogen Research Conference 2020 - Nottingham university , Nottingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Aug 202018 Aug 2020


ConferenceH2FC Supergen Hydrogen Research Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleh2fcsupergen
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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