The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Loading Chemicals into the Wrong Tank

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A not uncommon cause of serious loss of containment incidents involving chemicals occurs when the wrong chemical is accidentally introduced into a process steam or storage vessel.

The resulting chemical reactions can cause temperature and pressure changes which burst containment, or lead to gas releases or liquid spills, fires or explosions.

Extra care is always required whenever potentially reactive chemicals are to be introduced or stored in close proximity.

+    Ensure the workforce understand any hazardous reactions which can occur if materials are accidentally mixed.

+    Check, then double check that the material is correct, and that it is delivered to the correct storage tank.

+    Make sure storage tank inlet and outlet pipe connections are clearly labeled,

+    Use a code or numbering system on connections to avoid confusion of materials with similar names.

+    If reactive chemicals are unloaded in the same area, or the pipe work is confusing, re-engineer the configuration.

+    Try to separate unloading locations.

+    Use different types of unloading connections, or use special valve locking systems.

+    Ensure that unloading is done by trained and qualified workers.

+    And lastly, ensure to manage the processes involved using appropriate step-by-step procedures.

This bulletin from the folks at the Centre for Chemical Process Safety highlights what can go wrong if good control mechanisms are not used when transferring chemicals into storage tanks.



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