Boiler Rooms

Risk profile

  • Unmanned or infrequently visited areas that may be located underneath, on top or within a building.

  • Natural Gas (Methane) egress caused by loss of containment from multiple potential sources gas train, burner assemblies, valves, flanges, gas meters.

  • Natural Gas is lighter than air and will quickly rise, which if not contained within the room will create the possibility for gas to migrate throughout the building structure.

  • Plant rooms that are off-grid and use Propane / Butane as the fuel source present the same inherent hazards as those running on Natural Gas, however as these gases are heavier than air, the risk profile changes from migration upwards to migration downwards.

  • Incomplete or inefficient combustion will create Carbon Monoxide an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas, which in relatively low concentrations is toxic and in higher concentrations may result in the loss of life

  • Plant room locations may be used to store bulk materials, liquids, other gases etc. which, the event of an incident leading to an explosion and fire exacerbate the situation 

 

Risk amelioration 

  • Know your room – understand air movement patterns and identify any potential “conduits” for gas to migrate

  • Fixed point gas detectors for flammable and toxic gases

  • Audio / Visual alarms within the plant room to provide an alert in the event of a positive detection

  • Audio / Visual alarms at points of entry / egress to the plant room

  • Control system linked to slam-shut solenoid valve to stop the supply of gas in the event of an alarm

  • Control system linked to BMS / Security office to provide an alert in the event of an incident

  • ALARP – As Low As Reasonably Practical – set the alarm trip points to provide the earliest possible detection leading to a safe shutdown before the situation escalates

  • Battery back-up for the system so that in the event of a power failure detection and protection is maintained

The interior of an industrial boiler room with three large boilers, many pipes, valves and
HVAC Plant Rooms

Risk profile

  • Unmanned or infrequently visited areas that may be located underneath, on top or within a building.

  • Release of refrigerant gas caused by loss of containment from potential sources, bulk charge, condenser, evaporator, process pipework, Pressure or Temperature valves and flanges.

  • Refrigerant gases are typically heavier than air and which if not contained within the plant room will create the possibility for gas to migrate throughout the building structure.

  • Whilst most refrigerant gases are neither toxic nor flammable, they may present an asphyxiation hazard within a confined space.

  • Release of refrigeration gases that remain un-detected will result in a loss of system efficiency with the potential for knock-on consequences, increased costs to re-charge and loss of product to atmosphere require reporting under F-gas regulations

  • Buildings moving to or using a VRV system require an active detection system in each room served by the VRV system  

 

Risk amelioration 

  • Know your room – understand air movement patterns and identify any potential “conduits” for gas to migrate

  • Fixed point gas detectors / sample systems

  • Audio / Visual alarms within the plant room to provide an alert in the event of a positive detection

  • Audio / Visual alarms at points of entry / egress to the plant room

  • Control system linked to slam-shut solenoid valve to stop the supply of gas in the event of an alarm

  • Control system linked to BMS / Security office to provide an alert in the event of an incident

  • ALARP – As Low As Reasonably Practical – set the alarm trip points to provide the earliest possible detection leading to a safe shutdown before the situation escalates

  • Battery back-up for the system so that in the event of a power failure detection and protection is maintained

  • Point detectors meeting the requirements of EN378 must be installed within rooms where a VRV system is in use

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Laboratories

Risk profile

  • Multi-staffed or infrequently visited areas typically located within the built environment that may be above or below other offices or communal areas

  • Ambient air or possibly negatively pressurised with forced draught ventilation providing fresh or re-circulating air prior to exhaust 

  • Multiple potential risks from flammable gases such Methane & Hydrogen, flammable liquids such as Ethanol & iso-propanol, toxic or asphyxiant gases such as Carbon Dioxide, Argon, Nitrogen and other substances such as formaldehyde, Arsine, Helium etc. with egress caused by loss of containment from multiple potential sources such as cylinders, pipework, storage vessels equipment using gases or solvents.

  • Gases or vapours released may be both lighter and heavier than air presenting challenges to map and understand migration in the event of a loss of containment.

  • Best practice normally ensures that gas supplies are isolated at the end of the working day and any bulk chemicals moved to a dedicated and secure area, however in a moment of in-attention or the event of a leak in pipework or the failure of a valve, what are considered to be “safe areas” may not be so.

 

Risk amelioration 

  • Know your room – understand air movement patterns and identify any potential “conduits” for gas to migrate

  • Fixed point gas detectors for flammable and toxic gases

  • Audio / Visual alarms within the plant room to provide an alert in the event of a positive detection

  • Audio / Visual alarms at points of entry / egress to the plant room

  • Control system linked to slam-shut solenoid valve to stop the supply of gases in the event of an alarm

  • Control system linked to BMS / Security office to provide an alert in the event of an incident

  • ALARP – As Low As Reasonably Practical – set the alarm trip points to provide the earliest possible detection leading to a safe shutdown before the situation escalates

  • Battery back-up for the system so that in the event of a power failure detection and protection is maintained

In a Secure High Level Laboratory Scientists in a Coverall Conducting a Research. Chemist
Comunal Spaces

Risk profile

  • Multi-staffed or infrequently visited areas typically located within the built environment that may be above or below other offices or communal areas

  • Gases or vapours released in other areas may be both lighter and heavier than air presenting challenges to map and understand migration in the event of a loss of containment.

  • Heightened CO2 levels indicative of potential for transmission of airborne pathogens as well as decreased cognitive function.

 

Risk amelioration 

  • Know your room – understand air movement patterns and identify any potential “conduits” for gas to migrate

  • Fixed point gas detectors for flammable and toxic gases in risk area

  • Audio / Visual alarms at points of entry / egress to the plant room

  • Local CO2 Visual Indicators to keep within acceptable levels and in the event of heightened levels trigger ventilation system

  • Battery back-up for the system so that in the event of a power failure detection and protection is maintained

Female speaker giving presentation in lecture hall at university workshop. Audience in con
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