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Safety in process systems

System safety in the process and chemical industries, as well as energy industry

A system is safe if it observes the system integrity, occupational health and safety, third-party protection, and environmental protection. These so-called protection goals are pursued on the basis of different legal systems.

In the field of environmental protection, the legal framework for system safety is specifically governed by the Federal Immission Control Act in connection with the Major Accidents Ordinance. The specifically established Commission for System Safety develops technical rules for system safety (TRAS). guidelines, leaflets, and recommendations.

As the central instrument for determining the incident-preventing and incident-limiting measures, the Major Accidents Ordinance defines the development of a safety concept for areas of the company with basic obligations and a safety report for areas of the company with advanced obligations.

System safety from an occupational health and safety point of view

The central instrument for determining and assessing hazards and for defining protective measures is the risk assessment on the basis of the Safety and Health at Work Act.

The requirements are particularly specified in the Hazardous substances ordinance (Gefahrstoffverordnung - GefStoffV) and the Operational Safety Ordinance (Betriebssicherheitsverordnung - BetrSichV). In this regard, the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS) develops technical rules for hazardous substances (TRGS) defining protective measures against hazards for activities involving hazardous substances. The Committee on Occupational Safety (ABS) develops technical rules for operational safety that serve for the safe provisioning and use of work equipment, including systems.

Systematic determination of measures

In 1995, an approach for a safety assessment on systems and for methods was introduced with the technical rule on hazardous substances "Sicherheitstechnik" (safety technology) (TRGS 300). It included the systematic determination of measures in order to prevent malfunctions and limit their effects.

Due to the amendment of the hazardous substances law and the reorganisation of the rules on the Hazardous Substances Ordinance, the TRGS 300 was suspended. In order to allow for continuing the application of the approach according to TRGS 300 tried and tested in practice, a suggestion for an adapted approach regarding the safety assessment as an integrative part of the risk assessment was developed within the framework of the research project F 2100 of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health "Grundlagen für die Neukonzeption einer technischen Regel 'Sicherheitstechnik'" (basic principles for the reconception of the technical rule "safety technology").

The report on this research project also establishes the connection between the legal areas of Hazardous Substances Ordinance and the Operational Safety Ordinance on the one hand and the Major Accidents Ordinance on the other hand.

For system safety, the hazards caused by physical explosions were processed separately. This aspect is addressed in the report "Physical explosions", which can be found on our website.

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