Loss prevention refers to the measures used to prevent loss of life, health, and property arising from an incident. Loss prevention is improved when measures are taken to lower the probability of an incident and when people and property are protected from harm resulting from an incident. Specific loss prevention measures include these design aspects:
- Reduce the quantity of hydrogen on site where possible to reduce the magnitude of a possible worst-case event
- Lower the probability of hydrogen leaks by following best practices
- Utilize appropriate leak detection and flame detection systems (see Leak and Flame Detection)
- Provide an easily accessed valve shutoff control and an automatic control that shuts off the flow in response to a manual input or an event like fire detection (The most effective way to extinguish a hydrogen fire is to shut off the flow of hydrogen)
- Reduce the probability of igniting a hydrogen leak by eliminating ignition sources such as electric sparks and open flames
The consequences of fire and explosions can be reduced by:
- Maintaining an adequate separation distance between storage vessels and other structures, e.g., as described in NFPA 2 Hydrogen Technologies
- For indoor installations, locating a hydrogen system in a room that has fire resistant construction, proper ventilation, and explosion venting, e.g., as described in OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.103
- Installing sprinkler or deluge systems to minimize fire damage (avoid spraying water on hydrogen flames).
NFPA 2 and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.103 address standard industrial practice for handling hydrogen. When very large quantities of hydrogen are involved such as used for launching rockets, other approaches can be considered:
- Follow the guidelines of United States Department of Defense DoD 6055.9.
- Prepare a hazard review for design and operation that meets OSHA requirements (see 29 CFR 1910.119) and demonstrates adequate safety for the proposed facility.
DoD 6055.9 "DoD Ammunition and Explosives Safety Standards" (pdf, 4.51 mb)
Guidelines for safe quantity-distances for storage of gaseous and liquid hydrogen are provided in the NASA Glenn Safety Manual Chapter 6 - Hydrogen
NFPA 55, Standard for the Storage, Use, and Handling of Compressed Gases and Cryogenic Fluids in Portable and Stationary Containers, Cylinders, and Tanks
NFPA 68, Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting
See OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.103 for regulations on separation distances for hydrogen storage facilities.