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Updates to the Facility Siting Standards API 752, 753, 756: What Do They Mean for Your Organization?

Updates to the Facility Siting Standards API 752, 753, 756: What Do They Mean For Your Organization?

January 2024 has seen the American Petroleum Institute (API) announce the publication of the latest editions of safety standards: Recommended Practice 752 (RP 752), Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Process Plant Permanent Buildings, 4th edition; Recommended Practice 753 (RP 753), Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Process Plant Portable Buildings, 2nd edition; and Recommended Practice 756 (RP 756), Management of Hazards Associated with Location of Process Plant Tents, 2nd edition.

Engineering Director, Greg Knight

Greg Knight
Engineering Director

Learn more about how these updates can impact you from one of our experts, Engineering Director Greg Knight. Greg has been conducting both consequence and risk-based facility siting assessments, performing vapor cloud dispersion modeling of flammables and blast loads calculations, and developing our proprietary software, FACET3D, for over 20 years, assisting clients as needed to determine credible explosion scenarios, mitigate explosion potential and recommend actions to minimize explosion consequences.

What is Facility Siting?

Facility siting is an assessment of occupied buildings to examine the potential exposure to explosion, fire and toxic hazards. As stated in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR Part 1910, this assessment is a requirement for Process Safety Management (PSM) covered processes. Sites are always changing and, as a part of the Management of Change (MOC), the facility siting should be maintained in line with these changes. At a minimum, the facility siting study should be updated and revalidated at least every five years, according to OSHA. While maintaining a current facility siting study can be a challenge, revalidation has many benefits aside from helping to provide a safer working environment.

What Updates Have Been Made?

Coming into effect as of June 2024, there are 62 new mandatory requirements, including:

  • Expanded sections on fire and toxic release hazards;
  • Alignment of the toxic shelter approach with API RP 751, Safe Operation of Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation Units;
  • Guidance on the treatment of portable buildings that are used as permanent structures.

To learn more about the changes visit the API Webstore and search for RPs 752, 753, and 756.

What Do The Changes Mean For You?

Changes to the RPs can impact how buildings are sited relative to process hazard sources. Having sat on the committee that updated the RPs, ABS Consulting understands the changes most likely to impact your site. A few of the most important changes are described below:

  • In the new recommended practice portable buildings (other than light wood trailers) intended for perpetual use in a specific, fixed location can be sited using RP-752 (permanent bldgs) rather than RP-753 (portable bldgs), a change which relaxes the restrictions on non-essential personnel in those buildings. Previously, only blast-resistant modular buildings (BRMs) qualified for this change.
  • New considerations for buildings constructed of self-framing panels which are recognized to be potentially weaker than even light wood trailers.
  • New annex materials to support the determination of: a) whether a building should be in the study, b) which RP to use for a given building type, and c) more guidance for refuges for fire and toxics by type (shelter in place vs. safe haven).
  • For portable buildings, non-essential personnel restrictions have been separated from the Zone 1 determination. In summary, where a potential explosion or fire scenario could impact the personnel in a building and is within 300 ft, non-essential personnel shall not be assigned. It is likely that many buildings outside of Zone 1 will still have occupancy restrictions due to this change.
  • The determination of Zone 1/2 and 2/3 boundaries can now be performed using either simple Zoning Method A or detailed Zoning method B. Method A is like the previous RP and is based on the flammable congested volume and a lookup table of distances. Method B allows for some relief using pressure levels to determine Zone 1/2 and 2/3 distances.

Need Assistance With Your Compliance?

Don’t worry, our experts based in San Antonio can support you with any concerns you may have about the impact of the new regulations on your facility. Our consultants have actively participated in developing the API Recommended Practices, through their committee memberships and involvement in the Mary Kay O'Connor PSC Steering Committee and Technical Committee. As experts in both Risk-Based and Consequence-Based approaches to Facility Siting, our engineers can help tailor solutions to suit your needs. Our commitment to safety management and compliance supports a secure environment, safeguarding both people and processes for a resilient and responsible future.

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