ASSE Publishes Article on Hazards of Out-of-Service Equipment Handling

The July issue of the society's Professional Safety journal includes an article detailing the many invisible hazards that may be present if out-of-service equipment isn't handled properly.

The American Society of Safety Engineers' journal, Professional Safety, published an article in its July issue that details the wide variety of hazards that may be encountered when a facility is retiring equipment in the chemical processing industry. Written by Robert Wasileski, senior process safety manager at NOVA Chemical Inc., the article describes how to analyze the hazards and create a robust out-of-service equipment program to manage the risks associated with retiring equipment.

Fire and explosion hazards, reactive chemistry hazards, and live electrical connections or connections to working machinery complicate how to safely remove items from a plant, Wasileski writes in the "Retired and Dangerous: Out-of-Service Equipment Hazards" article. He writes that the biggest risk lies in equipment that has been abandoned and contains flammable and/or combustible material. The author writes that, "when these materials are accidentally released from containment, vapor cloud explosions, flash fires and pool fires become imminent threats," citing the fire ignited by a February 2007 propane leak from a cracked pipe that had been out of service for 15 years, according to the Chemical Safety Board.

He recommends that companies create an out-of-service equipment (OOSE) program that has these primary components: field identification; cataloging and categorization, hazard identification and risk evaluation, and inspection, testing, and preventive maintenance.

To download and read the full article, visit asse.org.

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