Explosives and Energetics

Back to Risk Mitigation

Whether for a military installation or a commercial explosives and energetics operation, the cardinal rule of explosives safety is to expose the minimum number of people for the minimum amount of time to the minimum amount of explosives. With this cardinal rule in mind, PEC will work with you to ensure your explosives and energetics operations are safe and regulatory compliant. We are intimately familiar with the various explosives safety criteria and can guide you through the regulatory approval process with the U.S. Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board (DDESB), the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), or an international agency.

An ideal solution for safe explosives and energetics operations is to provide sufficient standoff distance between individual operations, explosives and energetics storage areas, and unrelated personnel and assets such that the risk of personnel injury and asset damage is mitigated to an acceptable level. PEC can perform an explosives safety quantity-distance (ESQD) siting study to evaluate the feasibility of this ideal solution. For situations where space is limited and/or explosive hazards are exceptionally severe, PEC can work with your team to devise alternative mitigation strategies that may entail applying for a waiver or variance with the regulatory agency to allow for the use of risk-based siting techniques and/or the application of protective construction to either contain or protect against the explosive hazards.

Whatever your case may be, we invite you to get in touch with PEC and allow us to seamlessly integrate with your team to ensure the safety and compliance of your explosives and energetics operations.


  • Institute of Makers of Explosives Safety Analysis for Risk (IMESAFR)
  • Explosives Safety Siting (ESS)
  • DESR 6055.09
  • AFMAN 91-201
  • DA Pam 385-64
  • UFC 3-340-02

Explosives Safety Quantity-Distance (ESQD) Siting Evaluation

Proper siting of explosives and energetics operations and storage is key to not only ensuring the safety of personnel and critical assets but also to experiencing a relatively painless regulatory approval process. For commercial applications, an ESQD siting evaluation deals largely with ATF’s Table of Distances. For U.S. Military applications, the ESQD criteria defined in the U.S. Department of Defense Explosives Safety Regulation (DESR) 6055.09 and any additional military component-specific criteria will govern an ESQD siting evaluation. Navigating these tables and criteria and working through license submittal packages and site plan development can be daunting to those unfamiliar with these activities.

We encourage you to get PEC involved early in your project and let us guide your team down the path of least resistance to a safe and regulatory-compliant site layout. For commercial applications, we can streamline your ESQD siting study through automation using the American Table of Distances in the Institute of Makers of Explosives Safety Analysis for Risk (IMESAFR) tool. For U.S. Military applications, we can help you successfully navigate the DESR and component-specific siting criteria and work with the installation site planners to arrive at a safe yet optimized site layout. We’ll also coordinate with the installation site planners to get your site layout uploaded in the installation’s Explosives Safety Siting (ESS) model and generate your site plan for submittal to the regulator.

Risk-Based Siting Evaluation

In certain situations—typically when space is limited and/or when explosive hazards are exceptionally severe—a consequence-based ESQD siting study can reveal one or multiple quantity-distance criteria violations. Multiple measures exist to address criteria violations, including engineering analysis and protective construction, compensatory actions, and risk-based siting study techniques. Depending on the situation, pursuing a waiver or variance and implementing a risk-based siting study technique to address ESQD criteria violations can be an advantageous course of action. The U.S. Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board (DDESB) Technical Paper 14 (TP-14) entitled Approved Methods and Algorithms for DOD Risk-Based Explosives Siting lays out the framework for performing a risk-based siting study, and this framework forms the basis for SAFR (U.S. Military) and IMESAFR (commercial applications) tools.

PEC possesses a certified license of IMESAFR and is well-versed in the TP-14 methods and algorithms for performing a risk-based siting evaluation. We can work with your team to review your ESQD violations, devise viable options for addressing those violations, and, if deemed appropriate, help your team navigate the risk-based siting process with the regulator. Sometimes the best solution may involve a combination of risk-based evaluation, advanced engineering analysis, and protective design. At PEC, we have the experience, tools, and criteria knowledge needed to arrive at a well-balanced solution that meets your safety, cost, and regulatory compliance requirements.

Related Resources

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Understanding and Mitigating the Impact of Global Terrorism

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