2018 is just around the corner and with it's arrival comes the 2018 International Fire Code (IFC) and some changes.  For those in the process safety arena or just storing/handling/processing hazardous materials, Chapter 50 Hazardous Materials, is a valuable resource for the design of piping systems conveying those hazardous materials.  In 2018 IFC there are some changes to sections 5003 & 5005 and how section 5005 of code will be applied.  Here are the changes:

This incident involved issues with LOTO and PPE with the line break/process opening.  OSHA issued citations against 1910.111, .147, .134, and .1200.

At 4:00 p.m. on March 13, 2017, in preparation of a new pump arriving, a worker started draining lines leading to a 30,000 gallon liquid anhydrous ammonia tank. After the tank had been drained, the worker started loosening the bolts that held the pump down; however, he heard gas escaping and immediately stopped the work. He left the area, as well as the bolts in a loosened state. Later, he was assigned to go get a truck while they waited for the tank to finish draining. Unaware of the potential gas leak, another employee returned from lunch and noticed the loosened bolts. So, this employee continued where the coworker had left off in removing the pump. As the employee used an impact wrench to finish removing the bolts, the pump came loose and released anhydrous ammonia. The caustic liquid contacted the employee's hands, arms, and chin, where he sustained chemical burns.

An outside storage tank at a wastewater treatment chemical manufacturing plant exploded, killing the plant manager, 64, and former town commissioner.  According to Police, he was working on a ladder operating an electrical tool of some sort on the tank.  As we can see from the aerial footage, the tank appears to have been a fiber reinforced plastic tank. The tank has significant damage in two spots: 1) top and 2) side. The tank was blown in two pieces. We can see the lid of the tank laying on the property next door to the tank farm (~75-100 yards away). The tank was labeled 0-0-0 on its NFPA label. This entire part of the tank farm is relatively new as the Google Maps image does not show this tank in place. I have no idea what chemical was stored in this tank. There does appear to be some smoke/fire damage on the remaining tank, but it is light in nature. I am unable to make out any of the placards on the railcars at the unloading/loading spur next to the tank farm.

  1. U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 4,440 structure fires involving hot work per year.  These fires caused an average of 12 civilian deaths, 208 civilian injuries and $287 million in direct property damage per year.
  2. From 2001-2015, five firefighters were fatally injured in four unintentional fires started by torches.
  3. Forty-two percent of the fires involving hot work in 2010-2014 occurred in or on homes, including one or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family homes, while 58% occurred in or on-non-home properties.
  4. Welding torches were involved in one-third (34%) of hot work structure fires. The leading types of hot work equipment involved in structure fires were different in homes than in non-home properties.
  5. Welding torches were involved in 37% of non-home hot work fires but only 29% of such home fires.
  6. Cutting torches were also involved in a larger percentage (31%) of non-home fires but only 15% of the home fires. Heat treating equipment was involved in 15% of the non-home hot work fires but only 7% of the home incidents.
  7. Soldering equipment was involved in one third (34%) of the hot work home fires but only 6% of such fires in non-home properties.
  8. The peak areas for home fires involving hot work were wall assemblies or concealed spaces (15%), and bathrooms or lavatories (14%). Exterior roof surfaces (12%) and processing or manufacturing areas (9%) were peak areas for non-home incidents.
  9. Structural members or framing were first ignited in one-quarter (25%) of the home fires but only 10% of the non-home fires. Insulation within structural areas was first ignited in 22% of home hot work fires and 9% of the non-home fires.
  10. Flammable or combustible liquids or gases, filters or piping were first ignited in 15% of the nonhome fires but only 5% of the home fires. Exterior roof coverings or finish were first ignited in 10% of the non-home fires but only 6% of the home fires.

CLICK HERE for the NFPA Fact Sheet

What's changed in CAMEOfm 3.4 and Tier2 Submit 2017?  A BIG change for those of you submitting RMP(s), Tier2 Submit is stopping support for the older MER file format.  See below for more, but the new file format will be in place in 2018!

The short answer is yes, but the fact that they have negotiated this deal for a company to begin using NH3 over R-22 is very telling.  This month EPA settled a case in which the agreement required the company to replace R-22 with NH3 freezers on some fishing vessels.  The company will implement enhanced leak detection practices and replace freezer equipment to address violations of the Clean Air Act resulting from releases of ozone-depleting substances from two of its fish processing vessels in Alaska.  EPA investigators discovered that in 2012 the freezers on two vessels owned by the company were leaking an ozone-depleting refrigerant called R-22. EPA found that the vessel owners and operators failed to repair the leaks in a timely manner and failed to confirm that the freezers were not leaking when finally repaired.  The company will pay a $135,000 penalty, replace some or all of its current R‑22 freezers with units that use ammonia (NH3), and retire those not replaced.  CLICK HERE for the EPA announcement.

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