Posts Tagged ‘ high temperature ’

Chemical Plant Safety: Ways to Protect the Workforce

Manufacturers of cobalt should observe chemical plant safety to protect their workers and also the environment.  Cobalt is a hard metal which resembles iron and nickel. Production of cobalt is important because this type of metal has many uses when combined with other metals or other substances. The use of cobalt can produce high temperature high speed cutting tools. The metal is also useful in electroplating and producing steel and stainless steels magnets.  Cobalt is also useful for coloring glass, porcelain, pots and tiles and producing an ink. In the medical world cobalt is used as cancer treatment. In agriculture, cobalt is used as an additive to feeds for cattle.

As people enjoy the many benefits provided by cobalt, workers who are instruments in the production of stuffs from cobalt face the perils that can be brought by the substance if manufacturers will not impose chemical plant safety in the work areas.  Safety in chemical plants should always be observed to avoid chemical plant accidents. Workers’ exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume can be in the form of inhalation, physical contact of eye or skin to the substance or intake. Plant owners should implement the following methods to control the excessive exposure of their workers to cobalt metal, cobalt dust and cobalt created fumes:

  • The processing area should be enclosed but properly installed with local exhaust ventilation
  • The workers should be required to wear protective clothing and use protective equipments

Per recommendation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workers should be allowed to work for eight hours but the limit of exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume should not be more than 0.1mg for every cubic meter of air. Per recommendation of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), for workers working up to ten hours a day or 40 hours a week, the limit of their exposure to cobalt metal, dust and fume should not exceed 0.05 mg for every cubic meter of air. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) however, lowers down limit of exposure to the substance to 0.02 mg for every cubic meter of air if workers will work ten hours a day or 40 hours a week.

Without chemical plant safety, plant manufacturers will not be able to observe the given exposure limits above.  As a result, workers can suffer dermatitis and lung diseases. Workers who have skin allergies can be severely affected by cobalt when physical contact is present. Workers who inhale cobalt dust or fume are likely to suffer pulmonary tract infections. When ingested, cobalt can cause poisoning that can affect a worker’s bone marrow, damage his thyroid gland and damage his pancreas’ alpha cells.

Plant owners who manufacture cobalt must never forget that their workers are one of the most valuable assets in their companies. There can be no other people to do the work that they are capable of. Aside from a reasonable pay, they deserve to have a safe workplace.


Chemical Safety Labels – Overview

Chemical safety labels are parts of hazard controls against hazardous chemicals. Correct chemical safety labeling is fundamental factor to workplace safety. Besides, it is also required by legal.


Chemical safety labels inform potential hazards posed by hazardous chemicals, as well as other important information such as first aid procedure and emergency procedure. Their applications on hazardous chemical containers are very practical on how to use the products safely.

Potential hazards contained in a specific hazardous chemical may in form of physical and health hazards. Physical hazards could be combustible liquid, explosive, compressed gases, flammable, oxidizer, organic peroxide, water reactive and unstable or reactive. Health hazards of hazardous chemical could be carcinogenic (cancer-causing), irritant, corrosive, sensitizer, acutely toxic, chronically toxic, reproductive toxin, hepatotoxins, nephatoxins, neurotoxins, substances that damage the skin, eyes, mucous membranes or lungs, and substances that work on the circulatory system.

Failure to provide correct chemical safety labels or chemical hazard labels can cause injuries, ill health, death, fire and explosion. As an example, when a worker is mixing two chemicals or more without clear labels, could create toxic gases or even explosion. (more…)

Most Noticeable Lab Safety Equipment

Lab safety equipment is an integrated part of the whole safety system equipments in every chemical plant. Lab safety equipment is provided in order to avoid lab accidents, reduce hazard (chemical, physical and biological) exposure and etc.

lab-safetyVarious analytical works are carried out in laboratory everyday, which involve the use many hazardous chemicals or hazmat. As the consequences, many potential hazards are possible to happen in the laboratory, such as chemical spills, worker exposure to toxic gases, explosion, fire and electric shock.

So that’s why lab safety equipment plays an important role in accident prevention inside the laboratory. It can save workers from death and injuries, and keep your accident statistic remain zero.

Then, what types of lab safety equipment do you have to provide? Here is the list. (more…)

List of Safety Precautions for Shutdown Activities of Chemical Plants

safety precautions for shutdown activities of chemical plantsThere are two kinds of chemical plant shut down, i.e. planned shutdown and emergency or unplanned shutdown. An example of planned shutdown is as preparation for Turn Around or yearly preventive maintenance programs. Emergency plant shutdown can be triggered by many factors, such like electric power failure, machinery failure, instrumentation trouble and many more.

In both shutdown cases, there are safety precautions for shutdown activities of chemical plants that need to be taken into account. Such safety precautions are required to prevent potential hazards that commonly appear during plant shut down.

In fact, many people may underestimate chemical plant safety in shutdown condition. Of course there may no pumps running, no reactions occur or production process. But various potential hazards such as over pressure, fire and explosion still exist, which could present real danger to the plant and people inside it. (more…)

Potential Hazards in Chemical Industries

The Most Common Potential Hazards in Chemical Industries

By Lukman Nulhakiem

 If we talk about potential hazards in chemical industries, there will be long discussion about that matter. Although one chemical plant has similar nature with one another, but each plant comes with its unique hazards.

potential hazards in chemical industriesIn this article, I will write about potential hazards in chemical industries in general which is in turn it can be used as inputs for preparing hazard identification work for your own plant site. This is very important mainly for companies which have not determined hazards list within their plant sites yet.

As a reminder, I recommend you to read my previous article about hazard identification study as well as hazard control methods if you have never experienced in making hazard list for your plant. (more…)

Safety Tips on Compressed Gas Cylinders

compressed-gas-cylinders-safetyCompressed gas cylinders have to be handled properly. Otherwise, associated hazards such as fall, fire, explosion or hazardous gas leakage may happen. That’s why a safety guide on compressed gas cylinders handling is vitally important.

Here are some safety tips on how to handle gas cylinders safely:

  • Compressed gas cylinder should be kept in a special room, fenced and locked.
  • Authorized and trained workers can only have access to the gas cylinders room.
  • Protect gas cylinder against mechanical damage, by using appropriate racks or other means to hold them securely.
  • When the gas cylinder is not used, valve caps should always be in place.
  • To move the gas cylinders manually use sturdy hand trucks, which can hold one or two gas cylinders.
  • Do not handle gas cylinder with electromagnets, ropes or slings.
  • Put appropriate label and symbol on the cylinders, which describes content and pressure.
  • Do not allow cylinders to direct sunshine or expose to high temperature (>52degC).
  • Keep flame away from contact with cylinder surface.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the cylinders.
  • Use suitable piping, valves, fittings and others apparatus for the contained gas and pressure.
  • Make sure we have provided valves, regulators and safety relief devices.
  • Always open cylinder valve slowly to wide-open position.
  • Maintain gas cylinder and its accessories in good condition.
  • Never use defective safety relief device and leaked cylinder. Mark it and separate from the good ones.
  • Separate and mark empty gas cylinders from the stock.
  • Do not accept gas cylinders without clear gas name and good gas cylinder condition.
  • Calculate exactly your compressed gas consumption. It is unsafe to store many compressed gas cylinders for 1 year consumption.

Compressed gas cylinder is a typical source of hazards found in chemical plants. So take it into account when we will do hazard identification task. And the above safety tips are forms of hazard controls.

Hazard Control Methods

hazard-contols In the previous post, we had talked about hazard control hierarchy. Now we are going to talk about each hazard control method in more detail and show up examples of their implementation.

Hazard Elimination

Hazard elimination is the process of removing the hazards completely from the workplaces. The hazards are not present anymore. That’s why hazard elimination is the most effective method in controlling hazard. Whenever possible use this method to control hazards.

An example of hazard elimination is to design a low-temperature and pressure reaction conditions instead of the high-temperature and pressure condition. High temperature hazard is completely removed and over-pressure condition will no longer exist.

Another example of this is using automatic mode operation rather than manual operation. So that hazards that are associated with manual operation removed to zero level. Elimination of hazards is usually performed at the design or preparation phase and implemented at the source of hazards.

Hazard Reduction

Hazard reduction is the effort to reduce or lessen hazard level from the workplaces to an acceptable level. In this case hazards are still present. It is generally chosen whenever hazard elimination is not feasible.

Hazard reduction is implemented during the design phase and in some cases as a result of evaluation on the existing equipments, jobs, tasks or activities. An example of this is to substitute a hazardous chemical with a less hazardous chemical.

Engineering Control

Including in engineering control are isolation, ventilation, containment and process control. Engineering control deals with the design of workplaces and their related processes.

Isolation of the hazards may come in the form of machine guard, blast shield, welding curtains and hot surface insulation. Exhaust fan that removes catalyst dust and hazardous chemical vapor from a building are examples of hazard control by ventilation, where at the same adds fresh air into that building. Another example of ventilation is fume hood inside the laboratory room.

In case of containment, hazards are enclosed by using enclosed cabs, enclosing noisy equipment, providing a noise-insulated work booth and installation of silencer at the discharge pipe of a compressor.

Process control is the most common hazard control method in chemical plant operation, such as isolation by interlock and safety valve to prevent over pressure.

Administrative control

Administrative control is selected when elimination and substitution is not feasible, and engineering control could not provide adequate control on hazards. Typical examples of administrative controls are provisions of operation procedures, safety signs, safety talks, setting up new safety policies, scheduling working hour to limit exposure to the hazard, implementing job rotation, work permits, alarms and training.

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment provides a barrier between workers and the chemical, material, hot surface or noise. As I mentioned in my previous post about personal protective equipment video, it includes respirators, goggles, hand gloves, face shields, hard hat, ear plug and footwear.

Personal protective equipment shall be used when hazard elimination, reduction and engineering control are not feasible, and the administrative control could not provide sufficient additional safety protection.

The above hazard control methods can be applied in combination one with another in order to provide the most effective hazard control.

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