Industrial facilities are carefully regulated by OSHA and other governmental organizations because they typically deal with very volatile substances, extreme heat and pressure, and large, heavy equipment. This means that safety is a top priority at most industrial facilities. Fortunately, quality engineering leads to better, safer facilities. Let’s take a look at some key factors that go into this.
Top Considerations for Engineering Safe Industrial Facilities
A number of important considerations go into engineering safe industrial facilities. On the one hand the facility needs to meet practical requirements such as space, size, capacity, and optimized layout for efficiency. The particular demands that will be placed on the facility also need to be considered. Likewise environmental factors should be considered. For example the facility may be near a major waterway or could be subject to extreme storms or other environmental stresses.
In addition to the above considerations other key factors that go into engineering safe facilities include the following:
- Determining performance criteria
- Evaluating the facility’s response to design loads
- Load combination rules
- Overall blast tolerance requirements/li>
- Specifications involved in blast design risks and loading considerations
- Establishing reliable individual components
- Establishing reliable mechanisms and systems
- Determining the facility’s tolerance criteria and its allowable stresses
- The general layout of the plant and its spacing considerations
- The companies involved in the project including engineers, contractors, builders, etc.
To optimize safety at the facility it is crucial that these different factors and the individuals or companies overseeing them work in concert with each other.
Major Consideration for Blast-Resistant, Safe Industrial Facilities
Blast resistant buildings and facilities are specially designed to be able to safely stand up to fire or explosion without risking the safety of facility personnel and while minimizing damage to the facility and structure. This is particularly important since in many industrial facilities the threat of fire or explosion is an ever present risk. Some key considerations for blast resistant facilities include the following:
- Government Oversight and Compliance
- Protection of Personnel and Equipment
- Protection Against Losses
Determining Risk Potential
A crucial early step in engineering safe industrial facilities is to determine the risk level in play at the given facility. Some facilities may be a much higher or lower risk than others. Thus the specifications used in engineering the facility will vary accordingly. For example in for low-hazard facilities there may be less emphasis on blast-resistant designs. Instead engineers may gear design toward fire safety. By contrast for facilities with a moderate-to-high risk potential it is more likely that a blast-resistant design will be required.
These determinations should be made for all buildings and structures onsite that will be involved with essential functions. Such considerations for these buildings and structures may include automatic shutoff procedures, water pump systems, and alarm systems. Each building should be assessed to determine its explosion load capacity, as well as its appropriate elastic limits, and its overall structural integrity. Evaluations of these buildings will typically also include factors such as how well the building can handle ground shocks, fragments, and extreme pressure.
Thus, engineering safe industrial facilities requires a great deal of expertise and careful planning. Polaris provides top-quality industrial engineering and always makes safety a top priority. Our clients can count on us to help them meet requisite safety levels for their industrial facilities.