A global perspective

05 May 2016

One of the member benefits most commented on as I have visited member sites has been the Members' Alert. This weekly news bulletin is sent out every Friday to hundreds of employees at member companies around the world. Opinions on it have been uniformly glowing; concise, useful, and "immensely relevant" have been amongst the terms used by recipients to describe it.

An item that caught my eye in a recent edition referred to a fire at a biodiesel unit in Visakhapatnam in Andra Pradesh, India. The fire itself was spectacular, with 12 tanks of fuel and raw material igniting. Luckily no lives were lost. However, what startled me was the presenter's assertion, on a linked news bulletin that this was the 30th such incident in the past four years. While there was no context given (What was the scale of each incident? Was the area considered the state, or the country as a whole?), and we have no guarantee that the media reporting was accurate, the implications for the hydrocarbon storage industry in India are shocking.

I am not one of those who confidently assert that an incident such as Buncefield can never happen again in Europe. I have been told many times by member companies that complacency is a dangerous state of mind, and there is always work that can be done to improve. But the scale of the issues here are surely different. What should be an incredibly rare event has become almost commonplace.

EEMUA exists to help ensure good practice is spread through its membership across industries and international borders. Our guidance pulls together pragmatic, practical safe working methodologies, and is referred to by regulators across the globe as an exemplar of what looks like. Our technical committees help users learn from their peers, and share their experiences.

We run webinars and seminars to help individuals and companies build their knowledge, with upcoming events including a webinar on Hazardous areas - a guidance and standards health check; and a seminar on Managing high hazard industrial assets. Our CompeTank courses instil and validate competency for tank integrity assessors, engineers, managers and others responsible for process safety and for the safe operation and maintenance of in-service storage tanks for bulk fluids.

We believe EEMUA membership is an essential step in demonstrating a commitment to the safe management of high hazard industrial assets, and our work is needed more than ever.