A leading whiskey manufacturer sought to develop a new distillery in Ireland. Byrne Ó Cléirigh was appointed to carry out a risk assessment for the proposed manufacturing facility, which would qualify as an establishment under the control of major accident hazards (COMAH) / 'Seveso' Regulations. The client required this assessment to be carried out prior to submitting a planning application so that it could determine how its proposal would compare with the Health & Safety Authority's (HSA) criteria for acceptable risks, which apply to people on site and also to members of the public in the surrounding area.
Our work entailed:
- Examining the layout and design of the site in order to identify the range of potential major accident scenarios that could occur.
- Undertaking an assessment to determine the likelihood of these scenarios.
- Conducting consequence modelling to determine their potential impacts to the surrounding area.
- Carrying out a series of assessments to determine the overall risks that would be presented at different phases of development for the site.
- Developing a series of contours to illustrate the level of risk to which people on the site and in the surrounding area would be exposed.
- Examining the patterns of land use in the surrounding area to determine whether there were any existing or planned developments in the vicinity that would be exposed to an unacceptable level of risk, based on the HSA’s criteria.
- Examining the overall societal risk, using a methodology to aggregate the risks of each scenario and the numbers of people exposed in each case.
On the basis of the above, we advised our client on modifications to the site layout that reduced the risks to personnel onsite. We were also able to confirm that the buffer zones that had been incorporated into the design would ensure that the off-site risks to members of the public would satisfy the HSA’s criteria.
Our report was submitted to the authorities as part of the planning application process. Our client was subsequently awarded planning permission for the development.