The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today issued precautionary advice to operators of fuel storage sites following the publication of a progress report by the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board on the joint investigation by HSE and the Environment Agency.

HSE has requested that operators with consent to store quantities of oil or other fuels that make them subject to the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 1999, review their operations in the light of information obtained from the investigation to date and report the outcomes of those reviews to HSE by Easter 2006. HSE inspectors will also be carrying out targeted inspections at those sites over the next three months.

 Kevin Allars, head of HSE's Chemical Industries Division, said: "HSE has formed an inspection team charged with developing a targeted and nationally consistent action plan, based on operators revisiting the safety reviews at their sites, ensuring that relevant good practice precautions are in place and fully operational and that appropriate measures are implemented for responding to, and dealing with, emergencies involving loss of containment.  

"HSE will be meeting with key industry trade associations over the next few days to ensure that the programme gains maximum gearing from the industry, and to continue to encourage them to work with their members to review and to promote the sharing of information from dangerous occurrences." 

Kevin Allars added: "HSE's advice to industry therefore centres on containment integrity issues, such as tanks, pipework and bunds. It will also look at the management arrangements for dealing with normal and abnormal operating conditions. When visiting the sites HSE Inspectors will discuss any reasonably practicable improvements that should be made, and will, if necessary, use their enforcement powers to ensure that timely improvements are made."

 When more precise information on the cause of incident is determined, HSE will issue further advice to the industry, together with any required follow-up inspection activity.