Assessment of risk attending the manufacturing, storing and transportation of flammable and toxic gases involves the quantification of the ensuing dispersion in case of an accidental release. Worst case considerations have to be applied in order to obtain conservative estimates The paper describes a method for the determination of lower flammability distances for gases heavier than air under unfavorable atmospheric conditions. The method is based on the results of a wind tunnel study investigating the dispersion of instantaneous as well as continuous releases into a boundary-layer shear flow disturbed and undisturbed by surface obstacles. Thermodynamic effects on the dispersing cloud have been taken into account through modification of source parameters. The results have been compared with those from corresponding field trials. The agreement is generally fair. The method has now been converted into a detailed guideline for dispersion calculations within risk assessment studies for flammable and toxic heavy gases (VDI 3783, Part 2, Beuth Verlag, Berlin, 1990).