Loss Control Engineering Field Guide Info Check List
Plant Layout and Construction

Plant Layout:

  • Number of acres
  • Hilly, rolling, or level landscaped
  • Spaced or congested
  • Exposures in all directions
  • Topography
  • Drainage conditions
  • Oily water and the storm water sewer systems
  • Protected from flood waters


  • General type and construction of each building
  • Major value of the process equipment
  • Fireproofing
  • Control rooms

Bulk Storage Facilities:

  • Cone roof, floating roof, spheres, and horizontal tanks
  • Open vents or pressure-vacuum vents and flame arrestor assemblies
  • Floating roof tanks have friction shunts
  • Individual dikes, common dikes
  • Foam protection
  • Deluge water protection
  • High and low level alarms
  • Tanks gauged from a remote location
  • Receives raw materials by pipeline, railroad, ship, or tank truck
  • Products shipped by
  • Truck Rack – top loading or bottom loading
  • Pumps will start if the truck is not grounded to the rack
  • Interlocks that shut down loading
  • Railroad rack
  • Rails are bonded together
  • Spur tracks are isolated from the main line with insulated joints
  • Loading rack and the spur are bonded together with a common path to ground
  • Ship dock
  • Major warehousing buildings
  • Storage commodities and storage arrangements


  • Public utility or generated at the plant
  • Power company
  • How dependable is the power?
  • Incoming voltage
  • How the power is stepped down?
  • Primary substations
  • Number, location and size (kw rating) of the major transformers
  • How the transformers are cooled (oil, etc.)
  • Do the transformers contain PCB’s?
  • If oil cooled, is the transformer area diked?
  • Transformers in stand-by service
  • Will a transformer fire expose the power house or the process area?
  • Electrical power distributed (overhead or underground)
  • List number of substations
  • What area does each substation control?
  • Are the substations interconnected?
  • Describe the generators and their drivers
  • Make, size, manufacturer of the generator
  • How critical is the electrical power?
  • Maximum time that a power failure can exist without shutting down dependent processes
  • Is electrical equipment classified?
  • Emergency power
  • Oil pressure for oil lubrication systems on large generators
  • Oil flash point
  • Capacity of the oil reservoir
  • Reservoir located
  • Containment features for spills or leaks
  • Generator driven by; make and HP of drivers
  • Safety devices provided for the turbogenerator units; do they initiate alarm, shutdown or both
  • Fire protection for generators (CO2, etc.)


  • Steam is used for (heating, process, etc.)
  • Plant’s steam demand
  • Effect on the production if the largest boiler is lost
  • Describe each boiler; manufacturer Describe each boiler; manufacturer
  • Rated capacity in pounds of steam per hour
  • Rated pressure in psi
  • Boilers are fire tube or water tube
  • Fuel the burners burn (oil, gas, coal, or a combination of fuels)
  • Boiler safety controls; alarm only or alarm and shutdown
  • Flame out, high pressure, low water, and low fuel controls
  • Can the controls be manually by-passed when you have flame out?
  • Do controls close the fuel line automatically?
  • How often are steam boilers shut down for inspection?
  • For oil fired boilers; size of the tank; tank construction and location; grade of oil; oil heated before going to burner
  • For coal fired; description of pulverizers; fire detection/protection systems; electrostatic precipitators
  • Units producing waste heat steam; size in steam per hour and psi

Compressed Air:

  • Number of instruments and number of plant air compressors
  • For large units list the rating of each compressor in SCFM and psi
  • Compressors are driven (steam, electric, gasoline, gas)
  • Where is the air used?
  • Air into common storage tank or does each compressor have it’s own tank?
  • Air driers to remove moisture and what material is used for the air driers (silicagel, etc.)
  • If more than one air compressor, do they need all the air compressors?
  • Plant instrumentation; electric or pneumatic?
  • If pneumatic valves; fail-safe characteristics
  • If computer, open or closed loops
  • Backup instrumentation available

Fuel Gas:

  • Plant fuel system; plant gas, purchased gas, oil, coal, or a combination of the four are used by the plant for fuel
  • Identify the heaters that burn gas, oil, or coal
  • Indicate if the mix drum has a high liquid level alarm and an automatic pump out
  • Indicate if there is a knock-out drum between the refinery gas producers and the fuel gas system
  • Knock-out drum has a high-liquid level alarm and an automatic pump out
  • Gas fired heaters provided with small knock-out pots to remove water and residual carry over liquids
  • For facilities utilizing coal, describe conveyors, crusher houses, storage silos, trippers and dust collection system; housekeeping; construction; proper electric; spare belts; explosion venting; metal separators

Cooling and Process Water:

  • Cooling water system is once in and out system or a recirculating system
  • Describe the cooling towers indicating the units that receive cooling water from each
  • Construction of the cooling towers, and the number of cells; cross flow or counter flow?
  • Tower fans equipped with vibrating alarms and shutdowns
  • Does the tower have gas detection?
  • Describe the source of the plant’s process water

Flare/Venting System:

  • List each flare separately indicating whether it is a ground level or a high level flare
  • How high is the flare stack
  • For ground level flare stacks, determine if it is diked
  • Note the prevailing wind direction (flame blows away from plant)
  • List the units that the flare services
  • Does the flare have a continuous, automatic pilot light burning
  • Knock-out drum has a high level alarm and automatic pump
  • How often is the liquid level in the knock-out drum checked?
  • Does the flare system have a water seal? If yes, is it steamed traced to prevent freezing?
  • Describe critical exhaust and ventilation systems in a manufacturing plant
  • Explosion Relief walls and panel in areas employing volatile and low flash point material under this section

Maintenance and Housekeeping:

  • Plant’s maintenance – good, fair, or poor
  • Maintenance; equipment inspection and repair
  • Care and cleanliness
  • Comments concerning the inventory of expensive and hard to obtain spare parts
  • Formalized preventative maintenance program in effect; records kept?
  • Inspection and test procedures for fire protection equipment
  • Frequency of inspections and tests
  • Are inspections documented and kept on file

Control and Ignition Sources

Hot Works:

  • Provide details of permit programs
  • Who is responsible to implementation of the program(s)?
  • Are permits issued valid for more than one shift?
  • Is a fire watch provided during hot work?
  • Are gas tests conducted before work begins?


  • Discuss management’s policy

Grounding Procedures:

  • Describe grounding and bonding systems
  • Inspected for integrity and resistance

Metal Inspection and Relief Valve Testing:

  • Metal inspection department exist?
  • Equipment to do destructive metal testing
  • Type of testing done such as vital, ultrasonic, maganflux, dye-penetrant, audigape, radiography, drill and cipher method, electric calipers, x-rays, etc.
  • Isotopes in their instruments, type of isotopes, and is it radioactive material
  • Hydro testing on equipment done up to 1.5 the operating pressure
  • Use inert gas testing for hydrostatic testing instead of water?
  • Type of records that are kept; on stream inspection work; frequency of unit shut down for inspection
  • If the plant does not have and inspection department and employs and outside service company, name of service
  • Internal and external tank inspection schedule
  • How often the relief valves are bench tested
  • How often are the flame arrestors removed from their housing and cleaned
  • Block valves are installed under relief valves, describe precautions observed to prevent block valves being accidentally closed
  • Rupture disk, find out how often it is checked

Operator training:

  • Special training employees are given
  • Classroom training, on-the-job or both
  • Written exam
  • Refresher training

Emergency Organization and Procedures:

  • Safety committees or organizations in effect at the facility
  • Contingency plans for fire, explosion, windstorm, bomb threats, etc.
  • Plans documented
  • Separate manuals concerning the emergency shutdown procedures to follow in the event there is a loss of electrical power, steam power, instrumentation, or cooling water written
  • How are employees trained in these procedures?
  • Do they have a written or oral examination?
  • Do the employees have to walk and draw diagrams of the instrument systems, the steam lines, and the electrical systems?
  • Are the exams repeated annually?

Fire Brigade:

  • Describe the first brigade
  • Total number of trained firemen; number of firemen on duty each shift
  • Information about the training that the employees have received
  • How the off duty workers are summoned

Mutual Organizations:

  • Mutual aid organization that the risk belongs to
  • Equipment, manpower, and chemicals available


  • Size of the city water mains
  • Location; number of city hydrants
  • Fire mains are looped or dead-end
  • Meter size and type
  • Fire department paid or volunteer
  • Amount of water available
  • ISO rating of city
  • Name and location of nearest public fire department

Private Fire Water Protection:

  • Dead-ended, looped, sectionalized
  • Diameters of water main
  • Number of hydrants
  • Fire water pumps (manufacturer, type, rating in gpm, pressure in psi, driver of each fire water pump)
  • Capacity of fire water tanks or fire water reservoir
  • Capacity in gpm of water make-up supply to water tanks
  • Construction of fire water tank
  • How is tank filled?
  • Fire water tank heated in the winter? How do they prevent water from freezing?
  • If fire water pumps automatic starting, give pressure maintained in fire system, pressure that the pump will start
  • If fire water system is pressurized by the process water system, describe
  • Make a fire water test of each pump, submit with water flow curves

Fire Hose:

  • Inventory and location of the fire hose of the plant

Quick Action Hose Reels:

  • Number, length, and diameter of the quick action hose reels

Plant Fire Truck:

  • Manufacturer, give rated pumping capacity (gpm), amount of hose, nozzles, and other equipment carried on the truck

Sprinkler Protection, Buildings:

  • Buildings protected with automatic sprinkler systems
  • Type of sprinkler system; wet or dry; hydraulic designed
  • Supervision; type of supervision such as water flow, valve tamper, temperature, low air pressure
  • Hydraulic design of system if available

Deluge Water Systems:

  • Indicate buildings protected by a deluge water system
  • Hydraulic design
  • Manually operated or automatic; actuated by pilot heads or rate of rise heat detectors
  • Size and manufacturer of the preacton valve
  • If manual operation, distance between the control valve and the protected hazard


  • Percentage of foam
  • Type of foam concentration
  • Number of gallons
  • What it protects
  • Foam concentration in gallons
  • Foam is proportioned by a pump, (manufacturer, gpm, and pressure of the pump)
  • Foam is applied by means of foam chambers or subsurface injectionFoam-Water Sprinkler Systems:

    Portable Foam Towers:

    • Number, diameter, height, type, and make of foam towers
    • Number of foam applicators
    • How often foam towers are raised into place during practice training sessions

    Steam Smothering Protection:

    • Equipment protected by steam smothering systems
    • Distance between control valve and equipment being protected
    • Any fire lances

    Fixed Extinguishing Systems:

  • Describe, manufacturer, type, size in pounds, how actuated, what is protected
  • Will system shutdown anything? Flammable Gas Detectors:
    • Areas supervised by the gas detectors
    • Lower explosive limit (LEL) for alarm; the LEL for shutdown of equipment; is one or two detectors necessary for the emergency shutdown of the equipment
    • Will system actuate a deluge water system?

    Smoke and/or Heat Detectors:

    • Areas supervised by these detectors
    • Alarm local or supervised by an annunciator panel

    Hand Extinguishers:

    • Quantity and distribution of hand extinguishers
    • Large wheeled units
    • Serviced by plant people, how often inspected, how often they are dumped and recharged

    Fire Alarms:

    • Details of the fire alarm system and its maintenance
    • List other alarms, public pull boxes, sprinkler alarms, fixed extinguishing systems, flammable gas, UV and smoke detectors

    Watchman Service:

    • Plant’s Security Department (total number of men and number of guards on duty each shift)
    • Watchman make hourly rounds, and does he punch a clock?
    • List other types of security protection, electric eyes, ultrasonic systems, plant fenced, person at the gate

    Plant Fireproofing Summary :

    • Describe fireproofing here

    Fire Boats:

    • Fire boats, capacity, pressure of fire water pumps, inventory of foam concentrate

    Refinery and Petrochemical Process Descriptions:Describe each process unit :

    • Flow description
    • Who designed the unit?
    • Who built the unit?
    • Design capacity (barrels)
    • Daily charge (barrels)
    • Maximum temperature and pressure
    • Major hazards and safeguards
    • Possibilities of flow reversals, relief discharges, hazardous and reactive chemicals
    • Special materials of construction
    • High level controls on scrubbers
    • Type of catalyst
    • Inventory of catalyst
    • Daily catalyst make-up
    • Who manufactured the catalyst?
    • Affluent heated by water, type of heater
    • How often does the heater come down for metal inspection?
    • Fire box have steam snuffing?
    • Stack have steam snuffing?
    • Can steam be injected into the tubes?
    • Can heater be isolated?
    • Location of steam snuffing controls
    • Vessels relieve to the atmosphere or a closed system
    • How are the vessels protected (rupture disk system-alloy of relief line)
    • Report the alloy of all equipment utilizing cryogenic temperature
    • Classified electrical equipment
    • Plant fireproofing details
    • Vertical and horizontal supports of the pipe rack are fireproofed

    Process Description for Petrochemical:

    • Straight line diagram of each process, indicating the maximum temperature (F), maximum pressure (PSI), the major hazards and safeguards, and whether the process is batch or continuous
    • Major raw materials
    • Who supplies raw materials?
    • How are the raw materials received and stored?
    • Average amount of raw materials of each they use daily, weekly, monthly
    • What products are made?
    • Production figures
    • How they store finished products
    • How they ship the products
    • Processes are exothermic or endothermic
    • If exothermic, how is the reaction controlled and how is it cooled; auxiliary cooling system?
    • Shut-down procedure
    • Can the process reach a point of decomposition?
    • If endothermic, how is heat from reaction supplied?
    • How is the process protected from boil over?
    • Where are the dowtherm boilers located?
    • Type of dowtherm used
    • Do the dowtherm boilers expose the process area?
    • How are the dowtherm lines supported?
    • Describe combustion safeguards on dowtherm boilers
    • Special equipment, glass lined reactors, stainless steel reactors or piping, special alloys, pyrex or glass piping, etc.
    • How easy is it to get replacement parts for special equipment?
    • After they make desired product, does it have to be separated by distillation, gravity, filtering, etc.?
    • If distillation, find out how the still is heated (hot oil, steam, open fire, etc.)
    • If they have a refrigeration system, find out what they use for cooling (ammonia system, recirculating brime, etc.)
    • Used for, how long can the refrigeration system be shut down before the product stands to spoil?
    • What do they do if the product spoils?
    • Drying ovens; are the ovens fired (gas, steam, electrical, etc.)?
    • Ovens automatically shut-off temperature; does the oven automatically start or have to be manually reset?
    • Does the system ring an alarm when the drivers shut off?
    • Describe any safety features
    • Reactor vessels
    • Relieve to the atmospheres or to a closed system
    • Vessel capacities maximum rates pressure
    • How they are supported (concrete pad, exposed steel supports, etc.)
    • Protected (rupture disk or relief valve); size and pressure of rupture disk
    • If system relieves to a closed system, find out the size and the alloy of the relief line
    • Gas utilities having LNG or SNG processed
    • Details of major rotating equipment (i.e. compressors, expanders); their safeguards, vaporizers and their combustion controls
    • Construction details of cryogenic storage tanks such as alloy, insulation, relief valves, vacuum protections, etc.


    • Location of nearest busy airport