Explosions and fires in refineries and chemical plants have on occasion resulted in damage to or destruction of process plant buildings at the site, sometimes leading to serious injury or death of building occupants.
Methods for evaluating process plant buildings have been developed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) as indicated in API Recommended Practice 752, "Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Process Plant Buildings (CMA Manager's Guide)", and AIChE (CCPS) "Guidelines for Evaluating Process Plant Buildings for External Explosions and Fires".
These recommended practices suggest that a series of increasingly rigorous screening tools be applied to process plant buildings. Each successive step, requiring increased time and effort, removes additional layers of conservatism from the analysis. Buildings screened out at an early stage do not require further evaluation. Buildings remaining in the analysis pool after screening is complete represent situations where a higher risk may exist and for which detailed evaluation, including qualitative and/or quantitative risk assessment should be considered. By providing an early screening for buildings that pose low risk to occupants, resources can be focused on the higher risk buildings.