Storage tanks are the most common chemical containing vessels within the process industries. There have been many accidents associated within storage tank (material deficiency, structure design failures, operation error etc.) or among storage areas throughout the history. Both human error and natural disasters can result in devastating incidents for tanks that are usually kept outdoors under weather influences, as well as the tank bodies and accessories are poorly designed, abused, or are not effectively inspected and maintained. There are potential hazards which must be assessed carefully before construction, during operation, and after shutdown of any storage areas including hazardous or flammable chemicals.
This article offers an overview of the tank and tank farm with significant incident causes about aboveground tank design failures, operation problems, and maintenance issues, with the relating discussion about the implementation of process safety management and regulations. Also, some innovative storage unit technologies including groundings, roof design, safer filling procedures, and tank fire mitigation systems are introduced to give a proper information session to help industry understand the tank hazards and implement adequate actions to prevent incidents and losses. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog 32: 28–36, 2013