Managing the Hazards of Flare Systems

Topic Safety

CPD Hours 11.5


Learn the key principles for ensuring flare system safety

Flare systems are used throughout the petrochemical, oil refining and upstream oil and gas industries and serve as key relief and abatement systems. However, if not designed, operated and maintained correctly they can, and have been involved in both minor and major accidents.

This course comprehensively reviews the operations and equipment on all types of flare systems. It categorises the key hazards which must be controlled and you will review these hazards individually, making use of past industry accidents and incidents and errors in design only revealed in operation. You will gain a thorough understanding of the key design, operation, maintenance and plant modification aspects which must be controlled to ensure effective process safety and environmental compliance over the life cycle of a flare system.

Learning outcomes

The course will help delegates to have a working knowledge and understand:

  • the components of a flare system, how they work, why these components, which make up a flare disposal system, are there and how they can fail or be rendered ineffective
  • key principles for ensuring flare system safety
  • the key types of incidents and accidents and be able to use this knowledge in the design, operation, modification and maintenance
  • the regulatory requirements from safety and environmental regulations such as COMAH and PPC & EPR regulations
  • understand the general principles of how flare systems are designed.

Who will benefit

  • those who have responsibility for designing, operating, maintaining and/or modifying flare systems
  • personnel from operating companies, consultancies, EPCM companies and regulatory bodies who may be responsible for regulating assets which contain flare systems.

Course outline

  • Review of a flare system incident
  • Review of flare system components 
  • Key flare system siting considerations – eg ground level heat flux criteria
  • key flare system sizing considerations
  • Hazard 1 – keeping air out of the flare system 
  • Hazard 2 – keeping flare system lit
  • Hazard 3 – preventing liquid overfill 
  • Hazard 4 – preventing freezing/blockage 
  • Hazard 5 – exclusion of personnel from flare systems  
  • Hazard 6 – flaring toxic materials 
  • Hazard 7 – preventing over-chilling 
  • Hazard 8 –  working on flare systems (live break ins where no isolation valves exist, effectiveness of isolation valves etc) 
  • Hazard 9 – performing operational checks, or maintenance within flare 'sterilisation' zones
  • Environmental aspects of elevated flare stack systems (noise, light, loss of pilots etc)
  • Other hazards  (eg steam hammer – as steam to elevated flare headers is usually at end of a header)
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