No matter what line of work you’re in, it’s always important to take appropriate preventative measures to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. This is especially true in industries with some inherent dangers, such as the oil and gas industry.
Storage tanks in Colorado and beyond can, if workers are not careful, become quite dangerous. According to information from the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), there have been more than 60 deaths since 1990 caused by explosions and fires near storage tanks, typically as the result of hot work repairs and maintenance. An additional 160 fatalities have occurred since 1982 that are associated with confined entry space, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety.
Before you begin any type of storage tank repair process, here are some questions you should ask yourself to make sure the job is safe to complete:
- What’s in the tank? This is the first question you should consider at any job. About 80 percent of all confined space facilities are associated with hazardous atmospheres. Maintenance workers and repair specialists must be aware of the specific hazards associated with the chemicals contained in the tank.
- What are the tank’s surroundings like? Even if you are only at the site to fix the tank, it is also important to consider whether there are any hazards in the immediate area that you should address before beginning your actual job.
- Is the tank isolated? Whenever you are to begin a storage tank repair job, you should make sure you have your lock out or tag out procedures in place. But is locking and tagging out a valve enough in this particular situation? Before beginning the job, check to see if the tank will need to be physically isolated before you proceed, and do not begin repairs until that isolation has been achieved.
- What did previous inspections reveal about the tank’s integrity? The inspection report will have a lot of important information, including the stability of the roof, whether the tank has any holes or if there are any vulnerabilities you need to worry about. The answers to these questions will help you determine the best way to proceed with the repairs.
- Does the tank use lead paint? Many old storage tanks have lead paint, and overexposure to lead can lead to illness. If you are unsure about the presence of lead paint, it can help to first conduct a lab analysis. Don’t rely on lead swab sticks, as these can produce dubious results.
- Is the roof secure? Always make sure the floating roof is secure, and that there are anti-rotation mechanisms in place. All legs should land and remain vertical.
- Do you have access to emergency services? If an accident does happen, access to emergency services and a clear, planned-out emergency response plan is imperative.
For more information about ensuring your safety during repairs and maintenance of your storage tank in Colorado, contact the team at DJC Enterprises Inc. today.
Categorised in: Storage Tanks
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