A New Approach to Escape Respirators
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 14:57

"Newton's first law of motion states that an object at rest remains at rest, while an object in motion stays in motion at the same speed and direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. In the world of safety, the same principle can apply to the types of respirators used for industrial escape applications. Although innovative technology has been revolutionizing industrial operations and efficiency for decades, many companies are still using the same escape solutions that were available 30 years ago. Considering the cost pressures facing today’s industry, it makes sense for companies to explore new escape solutions that can help reduce costs while still increasing safety standards.

When Considering Change Makes SenseEscape respirators, like a compressed air emergency escape breathing apparatus (EEBA), will always serve an important role for certain applications. There is no substitute for EEBAs when oxygen levels are below 19.5 percent volume and atmospheres contain unknown or excessively high toxic concentrations."

 

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Keeping Oil & Gas Employees Safe
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 14:49

"In July 1988, the Piper Alpha went up in flames, killing 167 of 226 men in its crew. It is one of the most tragic offshore rig disasters in history. The investigation into the accident revealed multiple causes, in particular poor maintenance and safety procedures, and resulted in 106 recommendations to improve offshore safety and management practices.

As a result, several major changes were made to U.K. practices to help increase the safety of workers, especially in the offshore sector, and to protect large capital assets invested by major oil and gas companies. One of those changes was the requirement for personnel working with equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres to receive training in safe installation, inspection, and maintenance practices.

To satisfy this requirement, CompEx®, a training and competency assessment scheme, was developed by the Engineering Equipment and Material Users Association (EEMUA) in conjunction with JTLimited, the U.K.'s largest work-based learning provider; the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA); Unite the Union, Britain's largest trade union; and various industry representatives."

 

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Coast Guard Blog Highlights Dangers of BUI
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 16:34

"A July 24 post on the U.S. Coast Guard's Compass blog reminds readers about the dangers of boating under the influence, an all-too-common occurrence during the summer months in many U.S. states. "Imagine yourself out on the water one weekend with a group of friends. The sun is shining and everyone is having a great time. Someone opens a cooler full of beers they brought with them and before long, everyone has had a few drinks. After a few hours, you all decide to head back towards shore. Everyone has been drinking, but the operator says he is fine and can make it back safely," Aux. David Glaser writes.

"On the water, this situation happens on a regular basis. Would you get into a car with someone who had been consuming large amounts of alcohol? Why is it so different on a boat?"

He notes that boat operators with a blood alcohol content of .10 or higher are 10 times more likely to die in a boating accident than are sober operators, and the risk of being in an accident also rises for their passengers.More than 70 deaths and 180 injuries during 2013 were directly attributed to the alcohol consumption while boating, and alcohol is involved in about one-third of all recreational boating accidents, Glaser explained. He listed tips for staying safe and sober on the water:Take along a variety of cool drinks, such as sodas, water, iced tea, lemonade, or non-alcoholic beer.

Bring plenty of food and snacks.Wear clothes that will help keep you and your passengers cool.

Plan to limit your trip to a reasonable time to avoid fatigue. Remember that it's common to become tired more quickly on the water.If you want to make alcohol part of your day's entertainment, plan to have a party ashore at the dock, in a picnic area, at a boating club, or in your backyard…. Choose a location where you'll have time between the fun and getting back into your car or boat.

If you dock somewhere for lunch or dinner and drink alcohol with your meal, wait a reasonable time (estimated at a minimum of an hour per drink) before operating your boat.Having no alcohol while aboard is the safest way to enjoy the water — intoxicated passengers are also at risk of injury and falls overboard."

 

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Maintaining Old Technology to Mitigate Safety Risks
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 16:31

"Imagine that you wanted to feel safer in your home. One thing you might do is install a security alarm system. Maybe you even bought the best one on the market with all of the available bells and whistles. But after the alarm was installed, would you stop locking your doors and leave all of the windows open? Of course not, because the alarm system is just one component of your overall safety; it supplements your locks but doesn’t replace them.Yet I see this exact scenario play out day after day in petrochemical processing plants--inherently dangerous places that have installed fancy figurative alarm systems and then let the doors rust right off the hinges.

Naturally, I’m not really talking about alarms and doors. That is just a metaphor to describe a real problem in the industry: failing instrumentation, specifically mechanical gauges. In fact, it's not alarmist to say that chemical processing plants are on the precipice of a safety crisis, and the problem is much more common than most people think.

The average employee of a petrochemical processing plant is located within 20 feet of 7.6 failing or about-to-fail gauges. When you consider how vital reliable gauge readings are to preventing accidents and warning of mounting danger, that’s a frightening statistic. Even more worrisome is that gauges themselves serve as connection points, so a failing gauge not only ceases to accurately warn of dangerous situations, but also it actually becomes a source of potential media leakage or fire."

 

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