Hazardous area equipment is about more than just protecting against immediate dangers; it is also about preparing sensibly for risks that may occur in the future.
In one incident in Swansea, an LPG tanker was offloading liquid petroleum gas into smaller vessels, when the operator heard a loud bang and saw vapour begin to escape from its underside.
The prospect of a tanker leak might not seem entirely unlikely, but when he initiated the shutdown procedure, a broken flange meant he was unable to stop the leak.
A total of six tonnes of propane LPG escaped from the tanker, creating a hazardous area that included nearby domestic properties.
Evacuation procedures were set up, and 15 people had to leave their homes temporarily.
The incident occurred in October 2012 but the investigation only recently concluded, with the tanker’s operators fined £25,000 with over £8,000 in costs.
HSE inspector Mahesh Mahey said: “This was a serious and dangerous occurrence. If the LPG liquid and gas had ignited there would probably have been a large fire or explosion.”