The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

UK Pressure Safety Regulations, 2000

Graham Marshall - Sunday, March 31, 2013

In the United Kingdom, the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (2000) deal with the safe operation of a pressure system and the Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 deal with the design, manufacture and supply of pressure systems.

The laws for pressure systems are comprehensive because many types of pressure equipment can be hazardous.

Pressurized equipment include steam boilers and associated pipework, pressurized hot-water boilers, air compressors, air receivers and associated pipework, autoclaves, gas (eg LPG) storage tanks and chemical reaction vessels.

If not properly controlled, pressurized equipment which fails can explode and cause serious injuries and lead to fatalities.

But putting proper controls in place will minimize the chances of any unwanted pressure releases occurring.

As with all safety management, the key to good control of pressurized equipment is to assess the risk associated with the specific equipment in the workplace and to use the hierarchy of control to develop the appropriate safeguards.

The risk associated with a the failure in pressurized  equipment depends on a number of factors including:

+  The operating pressure in the system;
 
+  The type of liquid or gas under pressure and its properties;

+  The suitability of the equipment and pipework that contains the pressure;

+  The age and condition of the equipment;

+  The complexity and control of its operation;

+  The other applicable conditions (e.g., operating temperature of equipment); and

+  The expertise of the people who maintain, test and operate the pressurized equipment.

To reduce the risk associated with pressurized systems, Managers need to know (and act on) some basic precautions:

+  Ensure the system can be operated safely;

+  Be careful when repairing or modifying a pressure system;

+  Following any major repair or modification, have the whole system re-examined before start-up;

+  Ensure there is a set of operating procedures for all of the equipment in the system, including in emergencies;

+  Ensure that there is a maintenance program for the system;

+  The maintenance program should account for the age, use and the environment in which the system is used.

In addition to those controls, a written scheme of examination is required for most pressure systems:

+  This should be certified as suitable by a competent person;

+  It should address all protective devices, every pressure vessel and those parts of pipelines that could be dangerous;
 
+  The written scheme must specify the nature and frequency of examinations, and include any special measures that may be needed to prepare a system for a safe examination.

Remember, a statutory examination carried out in line with a written scheme is designed to ensure your pressure system is suitable for your intended use. It is not a substitute for regular and routine maintenance.

And finally...

+  Ensure that pressure equipment complies with the relevant regulations;

+  Before using pressure equipment, ensure that you have a written scheme of examination if one is required.

+  Make sure that inspections have been completed by a competent person, and that the results have been recorded;.

+  Always operate the equipment within the safe operating limits;

+  Provide instruction and relevant training for the workers who are going to operate the pressure equipment;

+  Ensure to have an effective maintenance plan in place, which is carried out by appropriately trained people; and

+  Make sure that any modifications are planned, recorded and do not lead to danger.

Energy Isolation and Lock-out, Tag-out for Pumping Units

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yesterday evening at the SPE/APPEA Innovation Awards Dinner, held as part of the 2012 SPE/APPEA International Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Perth, the SPE/APPEA organizing committee presented the 2012 Safety Innovation Award to Hess Corporation and the Risk Management Tool Box.

The Risk Tool Box and Hess Corp were selected by APPEA/SPE to receive the Safety Innovation Award from nearly 50 applicants and then from six short-listed finalists including Woodside Energy, Chevron and Schlumberger.

Our innovative application, in which we developed and applied a new method of energy isolation and then lock-out, tag-out (LOTO) to oil well pumping units was chosen by SPE as being worthy of the Safety Innovation Award, and for that honour, we are truly very grateful to all concerned.

In making the application, Hess and the Risk Management Tool Box notified APPEA and SPE that we would make details of the energy isolation and LOTO safety device freely available to other business's in the E&P sector.

 

Listed below you will find the following Procedures and Procedure Audit Checklists which can be used to control the energy found in oil well pumping units, and can then lock-out, and tag-out the energy so it cannot be accidentally re-energized:

1.  A Procedure for installing the Pumping Unit safety device.  Click here;

2.  A Procedure for applying the PU safety device, once installed.  Click here;

3.  A Procedure Audit Checklist for the installation process.  Click here;

4.  A Procedure Audit Checklist for the application of the the PU safety device.  Click here; and

5.  Schematic diagrams for the energy control and lock-out, tag-out (LOTO) device.  Click here and here.

In order to promote safety across the oil patch, the documents listed above are provided with approval of, and courtesy of Hess Corporation.

 

CSB Announces Findings into DuPont Fatal Accident

Graham Marshall - Monday, May 07, 2012

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has determined that an explosion at a DuPont facility in the USA that killed one contract welder and injured his Foreman in 2010, was caused by the ignition of flammable vinyl fluoride inside a large process tank, a hazard which had been overlooked.

The accident occurred at the DuPont chemical plant in Tonawanda. 

The facility produces polymers and surface materials for countertops.

The process for making the polymers involves transferring polyvinyl fluoride (PVF) slurry from a reactor through a flash tank and then into three storage tanks.  The tanks were also inter-connected by an overflow line. 

Days before the incident the process had been shut down for tank maintenance.
 
The tank fill lines were correctly locked out for safety.

Tanks 2 and 3 were repaired and the process restarted, but work on tank 1 was delayed due to a lack of parts.

Although tank 1 remained locked out from the main process, the overflow line remained open which connected tank 1 to tanks 2 and 3.

The CSB found DuPont erroneously had determined that any vinyl fluoride vapor that might enter the tanks would remain below flammable limits.

The CSB determined that flammable vinyl fluoride flowed through the overflow line into tank 1 and accumulated to explosive concentrations.

Although DuPont personnel monitored the atmosphere above the tank prior to authorizing hot work to restart once parts became available, no monitoring was done inside the tank to see if any flammable vapor existed there.

The CSB investigation found the hot work ignited the vapor as a result of the increased temperature of the metal tank, sparks falling into the tank, or vapor wafting from the tank into the hot work area.

The explosion blew most of the top off the tank.

The welder died instantly from blunt force trauma, and the foreman received first-degree burns and minor injuries.

CSB Team Lead Johnnie Banks said, “Our investigation found that DuPont’s process hazard analysis incorrectly assumed that vinyl fluoride in the process could not reach flammable levels in the slurry tanks.  And, critically, DuPont personnel did not properly isolate and lock out tank 1 from tanks 2 and 3 prior to authorizing the hot work.  The flammable vapor was able to pass through the overflow line into the tank the welder was working on, unknown to him or to the operators who signed off the hot work permit.”

Noting the CSB issued a safety bulletin on the dangers of hot work in March 2010, CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “I find it tragic that we continue to see lives lost from hot work accidents, which occur all too frequently despite long-known procedures that can prevent them.  Facility managers have an obligation to assure the absence of a flammable atmosphere in areas where hot work is to take place. Explosion hazards can be eliminated by testing inside tanks as well as in the areas around them.”

This is the 2nd fatal accident involving DuPont locations in the USA recorded in 2010.

 

Another Failure with LOTO

Graham Marshall - Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm following up on yesterday's post with another example of a common type of failure with "lock-out, tag-out" (LOTO).

This example highlights the risk in using single locks and keys for a whole work party, and then passing the key to a third party who is able to remove the lock and re-energize the system being worked on.

This is a most dangerous way to organize LOTO.

A better alternative is to have a single lock (and key) and to place the key inside a group lock box.  Each individual worker involved in the isolation activity can then place their own individual lock on the group box - ensuring that no one can remove the LOTO without their knowledge or approval.

Failure to Lock-out, Tag-out

Graham Marshall - Saturday, April 21, 2012

A failure to de-energize equipment being worked on, and then to use lock-out, tag-out (LOTO) to ensure the equipment cannot be accidentally or deliberately re-started is at the root of many serious accidents.

In this incident investigation, a marine engineer was working on an air-compressor unit which he failed to de-energize and LOTO. 

Whilst his hands were in the "danger-zone" around the compressure, the units fan auto-started, rotated at high speed and impacted his fingers.

The engineer was fortunate this time to not have his fingers or whole hand amputated.

While the incident investigation summary suggests a mental risk assessment is not a good tool, I'd suggest that a run-through the job using  the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process would have identified the hazards (kinetic energy in the fan) and the triggers (failure to de-energize the unit, failure to apply LOTO to the unit, and potential of the unit to go into auto start-up).

A very simple analysis would have identified for the engineer the controls which were then required.

I'd suggest a risk assessment on paper is next to worthless, if you're not applying the systematic approach of Think 6, Look 6!

 

 

 

Energy Isolation Guideline

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Failures during the isolation and reinstatement of process plant are one of the main causes of loss-of-containment incidents which lead to spills, fires and explosions resulting in damage, death and destruction.

Therefore, very high standards of isolation and rigorous management control are required for plant isolation and reinstatement, particularly in Major Accident Hazard industries.

In order to promote higher standards of control, I'm posting a link to this publication from the UK Health and Safety Executive (UK HSE) which provides excellent advice on the general principles for safe process isolations.

The document explains how to isolate plant and equipment safely; and how to reduce the risk of releasing hazardous substances during intrusive activities such as routine maintenance, sampling operations and shut-downs.

The guideline illustrates a method for selecting ‘baseline’ process isolation standards and outlines the typical prevention and escalation control measures which are needed to manage isolation failures.

The UK HSE suggests that the document  is intended for use as a reference to assist duty holders to develop, review and enhance their own isolation standards and procedures.

The guidance applies to the following industries:

+   The onshore and offshore oil and gas industry;

+   Chemical manufacturing; and

+   Pipelines associated with these industries.

It also has general application to all industries where process isolations are made, and applies to mobile offshore drilling units and onshore drilling units as well.

To access this excellent guideline document, simply click here.


Recent Posts


Tags

BP Pollution prevention PPE Hess Crane lifts Work in Confined Spaces Hazard Spotting Salute to Our Hero's one per center Chevron OSHA MSDS Nautronix UK HSE SPE HSE Innovation Award Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) Shell Job Safety Analysis Walking Safety Moment Construction Safety Catostrophic Disaster Procedures Unconventional Oil Road Transport Risk Management IFAP Process Hazard Management WMC Resources Mining Occupational Overuse Syndrome Drilling Thank God it's Friday Best bars in the oil patch Coal Seam Gas CSB Hazard Awareness Driving Safety Working with explosives Safety Alert Isolation Control Hospital Safety Supervision Fire Prevention Natural Hazard Unconventional Hydrocarbons Risk Tool Box Energy Model of Hazards Radiation Sources Health Excavations Safety Management Program Marine Safety Psycho-social Hazards Management of Change Safety Information Posters Water Corporation NOPSA Rosedale Abbey Electrical hazards Behaviour-based Safety (BBS) Woodside NORM Risk Assessment Slips, trips and falls Rail Safety OHS Law Oil Spill Response Social Responsibility Farm safety Unconventional Gas Kellogg Joint Venture Safety Culture Survey Aviation Safety TK Shipping Fatigue Management HSE Leadership ENI Australia Total Safety Video Hazardous Substances APPEA Raspberry Ketones Scam Emergency Response ALARP NOPSEMA BHP Billiton Workplace bullying Hierarchy of Safety Control Toolbox talk Sakhalin Energy US OSHA Office Safety Santos Manual handling Bio-hazards Hot work Situational Awareness Kinetic Energy Shale Gas Hydraulic Fracturing ("fracking") WA Resources Safety Safety PowerPoint Presentation Incident Investigation Working at height Global Harmonized System Contract Risk Management Australian OSH Codes of Practice Procedure Training Course Railway Safety Safety "one per-center's" Nanotechnology Call Centers Safe at Home Save our Seafarers Campaign Customer Testimonial LOTO Manufacturing Newfield Ladder Safety WorkSafe WA Safety Awards Safety Conference

Archive

Blog / Terms of Use / Site Map / Disclaimer / Risk Management Tool Box 2009. All rights reserved. Web design by Luminosity. E-Commerce by JStores.