How to ensure safety during the different stages of the facility’s life cycle

A production facility must take chemical safety into account at every stage of the facility’s life cycle from its establishment to when the facility is shut down.

Establishing a facility

A production facility, in which dangerous chemicals are stored or handled on a large scale, requires a permit from Tukes. With the help of the list of chemicals and the ratio, determine whether the operations are large-scale or not.

Apply for the permit required for large-scale operations well in advance, at least 8 months before the start of new operations. In drawing up the application, you can use the application form for applications and notifications concerning large-scale industrial processing and storage. The processing of the application includes stages for hearing and request for statements.

If the amounts of chemicals you handle are small, notifying the rescue authorities is enough.

Establishing a production facility requires the production facility to find out what kind of an accident risk the chemicals pose. The decision on the location of the facility is based on the impact areas of the accident. The built environment, nature sites, groundwater areas and the land use planning of the area must be taken into account in the placement. The vulnerability of the environment is assessed based on the criteria determined by Tukes.

Facility design and construction

Good facility design takes risk and safety analyses as well as the decisions and instructions made based on them into account in order to reduce the risk of accidents.

You can choose the method of risk analysis to be used, but it must be suitable for the activities to be inspected and the scope of operations. State the methods used and the conclusions achieved with them the methods in writing in the permit application.

The following issues must be taken into account in the facility design:

  • In particular, identify the points of the operation, in which leaks may occur, and assess the consequences of possible leaks.
  • Find ways to prevent leaks and limit their consequences.
  • In the application, justify why the methods used are sufficient, or why they are not needed.
  • In the risk analyses, take account of the following issues:
    • integrity of equipment, why the device does not leak?
    • disturbances in the process
    • leak management
    • ignition sources and preventing them
    • preventing the spread of fires, explosions and toxic gases
    • chemicals as well as issues such as pressure and steam.

The safety requirements followed in the facilities are based on regulations and the measures found in the facility’s risk assessment (Act on the Safe Handling and Storage of Dangerous Chemicals and Explosives 390/2005 and Government Decree on Safety Requirements for Industrial Handling and Storage of Dangerous Chemicals 856/2012). The facilities can also fulfil the safety requirements by following various technical standards and instructions; complying with their level fulfils the requirements of the regulations.

Changes

Chemical facilities must have a separate change management procedure, which states:

  • how the risks related to changes, both major and minor, are assessed, and
  • how the risk management measures are carried out.

Tukes’s permission must be gained for the major changes listed below. Tukes must be notified of other changes itemised below in more detail.

Changes that require a permit include:

  • building a new unit or production line
  • fundamentally changing the process
  • a new chemical storage building of significant size
  • a new large storage tank or several smaller tanks, i.e. a new tank area.

Fill in the permit application form on large-scale industrial processing and storage and apply for a permit for the change from Tukes. A commissioning inspection conducted by Tukes is required for the permit to make the change.

Changes requiring a notification include:

  • increase in the amount of chemicals in the same hazard class in the equipment or storages, an increase of 5–10%
  • the hazard class or state of the chemicals changing and becoming more dangerous
  • changes in the chemical manufacturing method; for example, rise in the operating temperature and pressure, or a batch process changing into a continuous one
  • renovating the safety automation system
  • new filling and emptying site for vehicles.

Send a free-form notification to Tukes, for example via email at the address kirjaamo (at) tukes.fi.

The change notification does not require a commissioning inspection by Tukes, but the operation supervisor of the chemicals or LPG must confirm that the statutory requirements and the terms given in Tukes’s decision are fulfilled.

Shutting down the operation, bankruptcy, temporary interruption and change in ownership

Shutting down the operation

If the operation of the facility or a part thereof is shut down, fill in a form and notify Tukes about the discontinuation. When the operation ends, dispose of the dangerous chemicals and waste appropriately. Make sure that the structures and the environment are cleaned of chemicals in such a way that they no longer pose a risk.

The environmental authority may require tests on soil pollution. Find out the requirements by contacting the municipal environmental protection authority or the regional ELY Centre.

If the operation ends due to bankruptcy, the receiver must ensure that the operation supervisor stays employed by the insolvency estate as long as the facility has an amount of dangerous chemicals exceeding the permit limit. When you sell the real estate and buildings of an insolvency estate, make sure that the matters described below in the section ‘Change of ownership’ take place in connection with the sale.

Interruption

Notify Tukes about an interruption of the operations that lasts longer than a year. A facility, whose operations have been interrupted temporarily, is subject to most of the same obligations as a facility in operation. The obligations can be reduced on issues such as the management system on a case-by-case basis. Emptying the tanks and storages is the best choice for safety.

If the chemicals are left at the facility, an operation supervisor who has demonstrated their competence must be employed at the facility. The hazards related to allowing chemicals to stand and restarting the operations must be identified. During long periods of storage, the characteristics of chemicals may change through e.g. crystallisation or becoming resinous, which may in turn affect the process.

Tukes must be notified of recommissioning well in advance of the planned commissioning. Contact Tukes’s Industrial Processes group. Conditions for the safe commissioning of the operations may be set based on the notification. The commissioning requires an inspection by Tukes.

Change of ownership

When you acquire a business, make sure that all necessary documentation is transferred during the sale. The required documents include the following, for example:

  • original permits by the authorities
  • records from the previous inspections and information about valid requirements
  • documents required by the authorities, such as rescue plans, a major accident prevention policy document or a safety report
  • piping and instrumentation diagrams (PI&D), electrical and automation drawings, construction plans
  • risk assessments
  • maintenance and upkeep plans as well as history information on the machines and equipment
  • tank and pipe records
  • operating instructions and training materials.

Update the documents and notify the authorities about the change of ownership!

Notify Tukes about the change of owners, name or contact information. Tukes does not need to be notified of changes in the operation supervisors of chemicals or LPG, but a list of the operation supervisors must be kept at the production facility.

Life cycle of the facility

Establishing a facility
Apply to Tukes for a permit, if dangerous chemicals are stored or processed on a large scale at the facility.

Large-scale or not?
Find out the scope of operations by drawing up a list of chemicals and calculating the ratio.

Facility design and construction
Identify the hazards and find out the consequences of possible accidents. Follow the safety requirements and standards of the decree in the implementation.

Changes
Make sure that the facility has a written change management procedure. Certain changes require Tukes’s permission.

Shutting down the operation
Ensure safety and notify Tukes about shutting down the operation.

Interrupting the operation
Note that the facility is subject to most of the same obligations as a facility in operation. Notify Tukes about interruptions that last longer than a year.

Change in ownership
Make sure that you receive the required documents in connection with the sale. Notify Tukes about the change in ownership.