A Sure Way To Safety On Hot Work: Flammable Gas Test

Three weeks ago, I read news about US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) guidelines on the prevention of explosion. These guidelines are aim to prevent explosion related to any hot work, which has caused many workers in the US died.

CSB developed these hot work guidelines after investigating 60 deaths in industrial explosion in the past 20 years in the US.

Let’s take a look at the explosion at a Packaging Corporation of America Plant in Tomahawk in 2008, which killed three workers and caused one worker injured. In that accident, one worker was welding on the 80-foot-tall tank contained recycled water and organic waste when the explosion happened.

Later, CSB analysis determined that the explosion was due to hydrogen gas build up in the tank as by product of bacteria feeding on organic waste.

Flammable Gas Test

Unfortunately, the explosion was said to be preventable, according to CSB. This means that it could be prevented by conducting a quick and simple flammable gas test. And in the case of Packaging America, it was not carried out.

The CSB main recommendation: Always monitor air for the presence of flammable vapors before doing any “hot” work, which includes welding, grinding or other spark-producing activities. Flammable vapor test is a must.

Do not skip flammable gas test even though we do not expect that flammable gas or vapor exists or we assume that the flammable gas concentration is too small. Or even we do not have any reason to believe that flammable materials exist or near the work site.

Flammable gas test is very simple and can be finished in seconds. Just use a standard flammable gas detector to do this critical job!

The best way in preventing such explosion accident besides flammable gas test is through better hazard assessment study. Do this as standard safety procedure and remember to always make hazard identification updated. That’s why it is very important to update the hazard identification list.

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