CSB offers winterizing advice for treatment plant equipment


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The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) on Tuesday released a new Safety Digest document that provides chemical and process plant operators with information on protecting equipment and instruments in cold weather.

“When the temperature drops, the freezing process begins and the materials expand. It can crack or break pipes and break or damage processing equipment, ”the CSB said in the document. “This damaged equipment may not become evident until the temperature rises, the ice thaws and a leak develops.”

The Safety Digest describes three incidents investigated by the agency where frost protection measures and programs failed and the main safety lessons learned. Readers can examine details of a toxic chemical release at a DuPont facility in LaPorte, Texas in 2014, a fire at a Valero refinery in 2007, and a gas condensate fire at a factory. Bethlehem Steel in 2001.

“Facility process safety management programs, including risk reviews, change management assessments (MOCs), pre-start safety reviews and operating procedures, should reflect a focus on year round on how low temperatures can affect piping and other equipment and instruments, ”the agency said.

To view the full CSB document, click here.

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Leon E. Hill

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