The Important of Pump Shut-Off System

The plant incident involving hazardous chemical, fuming sulfuric acid (oleum), which occurred in October 2008, has shown how important a pump shut-off system. According to Chemical Safety Board report released this month, Indspec Chemical Corporation was faulted due to failure to provide a shut off system for transfer pump.

On the day of incident, plant operators ran two pumps simultaneously in order to save time for transferring fuming sulfuric acid to a tank. The two pumps were regular pump with safety device and an auxiliary pump without safety device. However, the operators only stopped the regular pump and the auxiliary pump ran continuously and made the tank overflowing. Then, the chemical reacted with water vapor from air and introduced a dense cloud.

If the shut-off system that control tank level is installed, this incident could be avoided. The system will shut the transfer pump off when liquid level already reaches certain tank height. This shut-off system is vitally important, especially when we deal with hazardous chemical as the above case.

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