Managing the Hazards of Flare Systems

Date From: 02 July 2019
Date To: 03 July 2019
Location: United Kingdom
Description: Covers the key hazards associated with onshore and offshore flare systems, from the discharge flange of relief valves, to the flare tip, and the risks which must be controlled to ensure the safe operation of such systems.
Event Type: IChemE Course
Venue: Rugby, UK
Organiser: IChemE
Contact Name: Courses department
Contact Phone: +44 (0)1788 534496
Contact Email:

Book Event


Learn the key principles for ensuring flare system safety

Managing the Hazards of Flare SystemsFlare 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.

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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)


  • IChemE member: £950 + VAT
  • Non-member: £1150 + VAT

Course presenter

Paul Denham

Paul is a Chartered Chemical Engineer who has worked in a range of sectors for over 20 years. These include heavy chemicals, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals & onshore and offshore oil and gas. He has worked for and with a number of major companies (ICI, Albright & Wilson, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, INEOS, Wood Group PSN, Shell, BP and Talisman) and in a number of plant operations, design, and commissioning and plant support roles. 

Since 2002, Paul has led a number of major compliance projects including preparing top-tier COMAH report for a full site, and preparing IPPC application for a full site. Paul has worked in full time process safety roles since 2006 and supported a number of petrochemical assets and in this role, he led safety reviews, incident investigations and remediation projects on a number of flare disposal systems. 

Paul currently works in the oil and gas industry providing technical safety engineering services as a director of GMS Technical Safety. He also has a B(Eng) (Hons) in Chemical and Process Engineering from the University of Strathclyde and a MSc(Eng) in Process Safety & Loss Prevention from the University of Sheffield and a PG(Cert) in Nuclear Safety from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).

Alan Donnelly

Alan is a Chartered Chemical Engineer with more than 20 years’ experience working across a range of industries, including upstream oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, refining and research.

Alan has worked with many blue-chip companies including Shell, BP, Exxon, BHP Billiton, Ineos, GSK, Syngenta, Aker, Jacobs and Wood Group PSN.  Roles have included leading a team of process design engineers on three linked top tier COMAH sites, as well as plant design, commissioning and operations support on other major sites.  In these roles, Alan has worked on the refurbishment and modification of a number of different flare systems and their components.

Alan is currently working at the process engineering design centre of a global specialist equipment supplier, and is a director of Kessington Engineering Ltd.  He holds both PhD and BEng (Hons) degrees in chemical engineering from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

11.5 hours CPDDuration for CPD recording purposes: up to 11.5 hours.

If you are recording mandatory CPD you should refer to your own regulator’s requirements as recognition of CPD hours may vary.

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).