In November 2019 HFL Consulting was acquired by SLR, a global leader in environmental and advisory solutions.

SLR has a team of over 1800 professionals delivering advice and support from a network of offices across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Canada, the USA and Latin America. Our expanded service offering means we can provide a unique blend of leadership, management, consulting, engineering and training services to businesses of all sizes across the process and allied industries. We can draw on many more ‘in house’ skills and services, including process, civil and structural engineering, environmental permitting and compliance, air quality, flood risk, ecology, acoustics and wastewater treatment.

HFL Consulting (now part of SLR)

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A global manufacturer of decorative coatings needed to upgrade existing high-level protection systems on a number of bulk storage facilities on one of its upper tier COMAH sites in the UK.  The materials were classified as flammable and dangerous to the environment.

The Challenge

Safe and compliant design

The UK regulator places much emphasis on adherence to recognised standards and good practice guidance to demonstrate compliance with key process safety legislation such as COMAH and DSEAR. 

Safety Instrumented Systems (SISs) used as Independent Protection Layers (IPLs) to avoid major accident hazards must be suitably designed, installed and tested to ensure that the required Safety Integrity Levels (SILs) are maintained.

The relevant standards (BS EN 61508 and BS EN 61511) refer to a Functional Safety Lifecycle approach that must be followed. The client would need to demonstrate compliance with these and other relevant standards for SISs in potentially explosive atmospheres.

Meeting the requirements of BS EN 61511 for compliance with COMAH

The Solution

  • 01

SIF definition, SIL determination and SIS design and installation

Providing a team comprising process safety professionals and TUV certified engineers, we could define the Safety Instrumented Functions (SIFs), determine target SILs, develop and validate SIS designs against the target SILs, and install and commission the new systems, preparing essential documentation for ongoing inspection, functional testing and maintenance.

Key Services

Regulatory Compliance


Guidance and support in relation to Functional Safety and the relevant standards for compliance with COMAH and ATEX / DSEAR.

Risk Assessments

HAZID and LOPA / SIL Determination

Conducted a Hazard Identification Study and Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA) to assess the risk reduction measures needed to prevent overfill and determine the required SILs for the high-level protection systems (SIS), all in accordance with the standards

Safety Engineering

Functional Safety

In accordance with the Functional Safety Lifecycle specified in BS EN 61511, developed the Safety Requirements Specification (SRS), Functional Design Specification (FDS), and loop designs. The systems were then installed and commissioned, and assessed in accordance with the standard.

The Results

Providing a team comprising process safety professionals and TUV certified engineers, we could deliver:

  • Hazard and LOPA studies to determine the SILs for identified SIFs
  • User Requirements Specification detailing the requirements in accordance with standards
  • A design for the solvent tank high-level protection systems without compromising existing functionality and operations
  • Installed systems, tested   
  • Documentation to validate design and support testing
  1. 01
    High-level protection systems designed and installed in accordance with relevant standards
  2. 02
    Functional Safety Assessments (FSAs) carried out at key stages in the Functional Safety Lifecycle to validate systems, as required by the standards
  3. 03
    Documentation to support on-going inspection and testing for compliance with the standards, and key process safety legislation

Our understanding of process safety and environmental legislation, together with our knowledge of the relevant standards for specification, design, installation, commissioning and testing of Safety Instrumented Systems allowed our client to meet their obligations under COMAH without introducing unnecessary complexity or cost.

Principal Consultant, HFL Consulting Ltd

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