New Zealand's EPA is seeking submissions on an application to import a heat transfer gas to be used for refrigeration and air conditioning. The gas – HFO-1234yf – is for use in refrigeration and air conditioning systems in commercial and domestic settings, including in cars. The applicant, Honeywell International Inc, has applied to import HFO-1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoropropene) to replace some existing refrigerants because it has a much lower global warming potential and better energy performance than existing HFC and HCHC refrigerants, breaks down rapidly in the environment, and is not ozone depleting. Because HFO-1234yf is a flammable gas, the EPA is seeking submissions from the refrigerant industry and other parties about managing the flammability risks. Public submissions open on Monday 18 July and close at 5pm on Monday 29 August 2016.
Go to the submissions page [EPA website]
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services extends CalARP Program 4 written comment deadline
Back in March of this year a major manufacturer of nitrogen and anhydrous ammonia had its second PRCS fatality in a four (4) month span. Both of these incidents, as reported in the Incident Alerts, were construction-related permit-required confined space incidents. NOTE: the first accident happened at their LA facility in December 2015 and resulted in two (2) serious citations for $14,000 and both have been contested. OSHA just now closed out their investigation/inspection on this second fatality (in IA) and initially cited the contractor $203,000 under the relatively new Confined Spaces for Construction; the contractor had seven (7) citations deleted/vacated at their informal meeting so the case stands at 21 citations and $185,000. I am not quite sure why this case did not warrant a press release or why this contractor has not been placed in the SVEP, but none the less here are the citations as they stand today...
A 54 year old male employee was fatality injured while cleaning the de-stacker area of the mogul machine in the gummies department when he was crushed between a tray of product, and the frame of the de-stacker mechanism of the mogul machine. The mogul machine would become obstructed during the day with falling and shifting gummy trays, and starch. The track that moved the trays would get covered with these materials and would need to be cleaned with a pneumatic air wand. The victim performed the company lockout/tagout procedure for the mogul machine, and locked out the vertical movement of the de-stacker. As the victim entered the machine for cleaning, he inadvertently struck a positional sensor inside of the track system, and advanced the candy trays into the machine. The victim was standing directly adjacent to the metal frame of the de-stacker mechanism when a stack of trays began to advance into the machine, crushing him between a tray of product and the frame of the de-stacker.
A 38 year old male was fatality injured when his arm, and upper body was pulled into an operating auger as he leaned over the catwalk railing to clean, and sanitize a poultry processing chiller tank. The victim, along with other employees, were cleaning, and sanitizing the reverse flow, cold water chillers in a poultry processing plant. The victim was told to stay on the central catwalk, and left alone to spray down the tank interior of Chiller #2 with hot water, and sanitizing solution while the auger was in operation. During the cleaning process, a nearby employee heard a noise, and saw the victim’s legs extending from beneath the guard rail positioned approximately 15 inches above the top of the tank. The emergency pull cable was activated immediately. The victim was fatality injured by blunt force trauma to the body. There were no witnesses to the actual incident, but it remains a possibility the employee moved from the central catwalk, to the outer catwalk of Chiller #2 reaching in with his arm, and body to clean the interior of the tank, and was caught by the auger blade, pulling the employee into the tank from the catwalk. This was his sixth day of employment.
Yes. When OSHA enacted the PSM requirement, it did so in an effort to eliminate or minimize catastrophic incidents involving highly hazardous chemicals. PSM programs are risk reduction strategies. When implemented correctly, reducing storage inventories of highly hazardous chemicals and isolating stored quantities in distinct facility areas are acceptable risk reduction strategies. Employers at storage facilities may therefore choose to safely alter their storage practices to reduce chemical risks—and fall below PSM applicability criteria—instead of complying with PSM. However, such facilities must still comply with other applicable OSHA standards and section (5)(a)(1) of the OSH Act, the “General Duty Clause” (which requires that employers provide workplaces free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm).
OSHA has published a DRAFT revision of their OSHA 3132, Process Safety Management. This new version is NOT meant to be a replacement for OSHA 3132, but instead meant to be a companion to the original OSHA 3132 specifically for small businesses that may be impacted by the PSM standard. The booklet calls attention to five (5) of the fourteen PSM elements that may have the most impact on small businesses and their process risks...
Cal/OSHA has cited a metal processing company $73,105 for serious safety violations following a March 13, 2016 confined space accident in which a worker was asphyxiated. Cal/OSHA investigators found the company failed to comply with confined space regulations that resulted in the serious illness. On March 13, a supervisor sent an untrained production assistant into a pressure vessel furnace to perform maintenance on it. The assistant did not have an oxygen sensor with him when he descended into the unit, which is only 49 inches wide and 98 inches tall, and was filled with argon gas. Argon is a noble gas that is chemically inert under most conditions and is colorless, odorless, and much heavier than air. When the worker was overcome by the argon gas and collapsed inside the unit, a second worker went in after him and became dizzy and lost consciousness. A third employee then took a nearby fan and blew fresh air into the confined space, which provided air to breathe. The first worker spent four days in a hospital receiving treatment for his illness, and the second employee was transported to the hospital and was treated and released.
The diffuser tank discussion continues and Peter Thomas, P.E. from Resource Compliance, Inc. was kind enough to offer us the following insight as to when a diffuser tank would be required. In most of my postings, I reference the International Fire Code (IFC) and International Mechanical Coden(IMC) quite often, but the Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) is a code that I have very little experience with and as Peter points out, it is alive and well on the west coast. So it is worth noting that the Uniform Mechanical Code required Diffusion Tanks from 1994-2014 (the requirement removed in 2015 UMC)AND the UMC also required diffuser tanks be of steel construction. Most states utilize the International Mechanical Code, but select western states still use the UMC, or in the case of California the California Mechanical Code which is a derivative of the UMC. Here are some parts of the UMC that Peter provided:
This past week I was having a conversation with my friend and fine PSM professional Brian Chapin @ RCE and our discussion turned to diffuser tanks. Having been involved in several design and install projects over the past several years, getting to know a little something about diffuser tanks comes with the territory. But one of my biggest battles has been the use of "farm tanks" (i.e. plastic tanks) as diffuser tanks. We laughed for a moment and Brian in his usual fashion brought it all home with the question... what RAGAGEP are you using for your diffuser tank(s)?