Toxic gas hazards are common at refining, chemical processing, and related industrial sites and often contribute significantly to the overall on-site risk posed by site operations. The risks associated with an accidental release of toxic material are normally addressed by sheltering-in-place and/or evacuating as part of the overall risk management strategy.

A shelter-in-place (SIP) enclosure, or toxic refuge, is intended to protect facility personnel in the event of a toxic (or flammable) gas release, whether they are already inside the SIP enclosure or they take shelter in response to a release. 

The presentation will examine the characteristics of an effective toxic sheltering strategy, including shelter design, emergency planning, and culture. Aspects of design will include layout, leak tightness, gas detection, and ventilation isolation. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of ensuring the capabilities and limitations of the SIP form part of the emergency plan and that a clearly defined fallback plan exists should the SIP be compromised. The effectiveness hinges on the development of a culture that ‘buys-in’ to the strategy.

The challenges of maintaining these characteristics and common shortcomings in design, maintenance, and operation of toxic shelters observed by BakerRisk’s engineers over hundreds of site visits to facilities worldwide will be highlighted.

A risk-based approach will be outlined that can be utilised to help determine how risk can be minimised to as low as reasonably practicable.

Robert Magraw

Robert Magraw is the Operations Manager of BakerRisk Europe Ltd. He has an extensive career of over thirty years in safety and risk management, including twelve years in the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors and over eighteen years in the nuclear industry. His main areas of technical practice currently include PHA, SIS/SIL, QRA, audit, insurance risk engineering, and management system development. He was previously head of environment, health, safety, and quality for an international nuclear services company. He also managed the corporate HSE management system and assurance program for a major international nuclear business with a global portfolio of nuclear and non-nuclear operations.

Mr. Magraw is a member of IChemE Hazards Technical Committee and the European Process Safety Centre Technical Steering Group. He is also a TUV certified functional safety engineer.

He has presented technical papers and workshops at numerous conferences in Europe and the Middle East.