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Abstract

Major improvements have occurred in the technology for making latex. Latex plants represent good examples of the application of inherently safer plant features. Early plants had Fire & Explosion Indexes (F&EIs) in a range of 159-171 (Severe) whereas recent plants are in a range of 97–127 (Intermediate). A key design feature is adequate spacing. Minimum inventories of hazardous materials are maintained. Containment of hazardous materials minimizes exposure to facilities and people and provides adequate volume.

Process structures are open to avoid accumulation of flammable gases. Containment in vessels uses high design pressures. Safe emergency relief venting is provided. The ability to make discrete batches is maintained, but some semi-continuous feeding is used. Appropriate redundancy of instrument and control systems is used with sophisticated process control systems. Emergency block valves and fire tested valves are used. Inherently unsafe equipment is avoided. Good operating practices are employed with documentation of operation procedures, testing, maintenance and training. Fire protection systems and emergency planning are provided.

The final result in applying inherently safer design practices is major improvement in safety and minimization of the risk potential for losses that could affect people, plant equipment, business loss and the environment.