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Aerosol distributor achieves COMAH compliance with help from Pyroban.

Pyroban : 22 May, 2007  (Application Story)
Pyroban has provided consultancy and guidance to major 3rd party logistics operation handling dangerous chemicals in achieving health and safety certification for fulfilling warehousing operations in potentially explosive environments.
Not many 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) warehouses achieve the grand title of Top Tier COMAH site. Specialist 3PL company CERT FMCG Logistics is one company that has invested heavily in updating their Rotherham site to reach this status, offering one of the safest operations for the storage and distribution of aerosols and health and beauty products with the help of both Crown Lift Trucks and Pyroban.

CERT FMCG Logistics, a business unit of the CERT Group, provides 3rd party Logistics services for the consumer goods sector from locations throughout the UK. The company provides a flexible range of added value services including complex warehousing, inventory management (also online), order picking by unit, case or pallet and product customisation.

CERTs facility in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was built in 1990 specifically for Coty, one of the world's largest fragrance companies whose brands include Rimmel London and Adidas. Since then, the facility has grown to manage various types of operations for over 20 companies such as The Body Shop and Reckitt Benckiser whilst continuing to serve Coty.

As the profile of the products stored changed and quantities grew, CERT's Health and Safety Officer sought advice from the HSE concerning the number of aerosols stored. The majority of the aerosols are antiperspirant deodorants and household cleaning products containing a small amount of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) propellant. CERT was looking to grow their facility to provide up to 6,000 pallet positions for the aerosols and was concerned by the total amount of flammable gas they could be handling.

John Hamilton, Operations Director at CERT FMCG Logistics explains "6,000 pallets of aerosols equates to a lot of pressurised flammable gas under one roof. We estimated that at any one time we wouldn't have any less than 300 Tonnes of LPG onsite meaning that we had to seriously look at upgrading the facility to meet current and future legislation."

The HSE confirmed that if CERT were looking to handle this number of aerosols they would fall into the Top Tier COMAH (Control of Major Accidents and Hazards) Regulations. The main aim of COMAH is to prevent and mitigate the effects of major accidents involving dangerous substances, such as LPG, which can cause serious damage/harm to people and/or the environment. The COMAH Regulations treat risks to the environment as seriously as those to people.

The regulations apply to companies where dangerous substances are present in quantities equal to or above specified thresholds. There are two thresholds for LPG, a lower one of 50 tonnes ('Lower-tier sites') and a higher one of 200 tonnes ('Top-tier sites'). CERT would clearly fall into the Top Tier category and instructed specialist hazardous area consultants to help manage the upgrade of the facility. The company also had to comply with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR*) which concerns the management of the operation, training and classification of zoned areas.

John Hamilton continues "Our environmental and safety culture flows throughout the company and to fulfil our future business goals we implemented a programme to demonstrate to the HSE that we comply with COMAH and DSEAR. This involved working with the Environment Agency, the HSE, our insurance company, local Police, Fire and Ambulance services and our suppliers to ensure we were managing explosion risk effectively. Our main aim was mitigation and prevention."

CERT had to make key changes to the site and management including a Major Accident Prevention Plan (MAPP), incorporated into an on site Safety Report, to demonstrate that all measures necessary had been taken. CERT invested £750K in the upgrade including 12.5 m high projectile fencing around 6,000 (43,000ft2) pallet positions and the fitting of a penstock valve to contain fire water. The storage areas were also classified Zone 2 under the DSEAR regulations with all equipment operating in the areas having to comply with the ATEX 94/9/EC Directive.

Crown Lift Trucks already supplied CERT for over 8 years and the site upgrade coincided with the need for a replacement fork lift truck fleet.

Account Manager for Crown Lift Trucks, Simon Barkworth explains "It was clear that CERT's operation was changing and we had to ensure that the new fleet of trucks not only complied with ATEX, but met the demanding needs of their logistics operation of the future. For example, they have exceptionally high racking, all of which is narrow aisle."

"Crown's account management is first class," CERTs John Hamilton continues "going beyond our expectations concerning the operation. COMAH was all new and we needed a partner that would work pro-actively to meet our changing needs and help us maintain a 99.8% service level."

Following a full audit of the Rotherham site, Crown implemented a replacement fleet programme consisting of TSP Man up VNA machines, WP2330S Powered Pallet trucks, ESR4500 Reach and SC3200 Counterbalance trucks.

Simon Barkworth continues "We brought Pyroban in at the very beginning to provide independent advice on how we could help CERT meet the needs of DSEAR and ATEX on the materials handling fleet. We quickly established the type of protection needed and how we would fully support CERT with one of the safest materials handling fleets for the next 5-7 years."

"We did look at other companies," Explains John Hamilton "but quickly realised that for the demanding operation and significant inventory we manage, Pyroban safety was the only choice for CERT when considering explosion risk. We also liked the features and benefits of the Crown kit such as the rear visibility on the VNA's"

Pyroban converted both TSP VNA machines and WPS powered pallet trucks at it's factory in West Sussex, UK so that they were all safe for operation within the Zone 2 hazardous storage areas. The giant TSP machines were converted in 3 sections at the Pyroban facility with Pyroban's system 5000E gas protection system. The system combines active gas warning and equipment shutdown technology with a range of explosion protection solutions. The user benefits from the early warning of a problem, automatically shutting the equipment down if a hazard is detected. In this case gas sensing is employed at ground level and where the aerosol pallets are being handled effectively preventing ignition from the materials handling equipment. Due to the size of the equipment, the machines were finally assembled onsite at the Rotherham facility, where Pyroban completed it's final testing procedures. The pallet trucks also employed similar technology.

Crown helped improve housekeeping and supports the equipment onsite with fully Pyroban trained engineers. Pyroban also has a local service engineer for specialist support and to carry out the EX-ASA annual safety audits in line with the requirements of the thorough examination of fork lift trucks.

CERT has made significant investment in staff training to ensure that all those involved in the handling of dangerous products know how to manage them safely. The board takes genuine interest in safety helping to maintain a responsible culture with additional accreditations including ISO9001:2000, Investors in People (IIP) and Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).

Hamilton concludes "The Top-tier COMAH registration means we are one of the safest 3PLs serving the Health & Beauty and other FMCG sectors. We don't just want to be compliant, we provide our customers with the very best level of service for the movement of their brands."
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