Skip to main content

Bulk storage of hazardous substances

The bulk storage of hazardous substances presents fire and rescue service personnel with specific problems, which are:

  • Quantities of substances stored
  • Variety of substances being stored
  • Variety of storage media
  • Proximity of other bulk storage of hazardous substances (for example, at Buncefield there were approximately 29 bulk storage tanks and three pipelines)
  • Size of the consequence area in terms of the plume, firefighting media run off, potential proximity of residential areas, etc.

The Health and Safety Executive has issued regulations and approved codes of practice for aspects of the storage of hazardous substances. The regulations and approved codes of practice require that the owner/occupier carry out a detailed risk assessment on the premises storing hazardous materials, and subsequent safety systems be implemented. It is recommended that the hazardous materials adviser refers to these documents for details on safety systems.

The safety systems are based on the assessment of the risks from:

  • Release of dangerous substances
  • Ignition sources
  • Separation of product
  • Elimination or reduction of risks from dangerous substances through:
    • Ventilation
    • Control of ignition
    • Separation of product
    • Fire resistance of  the storage media
    • Fire reaction