A report that specifies minimum standards of safety and environmental protection for all United Kingdom-based sites storing large volumes of gasoline comes on the fourth anniversary of a catastrophic explosion at one such site.

On December 11, 2005, a series of massive explosions occurred at Buncefield Oil Storage Depot in Hemel Hempstead. According to published reports, at least one of the initial explosions was of massive proportions. There was a large fire, and more than 40 people were injured.

Following the explosion, the Major Incident Investigation Board (MIIB) was established by the then Health & Safety Commission. The MIIB has carried out an extensive investigation into the causes of the incident and ways to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Following the recommendations of the MIIB, industry set up the Process Safety Leadership Group (PSLG), jointly with regulators and trades unions, to work through the lessons from the incident to prevent a recurrence. The lessons from the investigation extended beyond the oil sector, so industry stakeholders include the chemical sector as well as oil/fuels and tank storage.

On the fourth anniversary of the Buncefield explosion, PSLG has published its final report with recommendations specifying minimum safety and environmental protection standards for all sites storing large volumes of gasoline. The Process Safety Leadership Group final report on Safety and Environmental Standards for Fuel Storage Sites is published at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/comah/buncefield/response.htm.

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