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CSB Bulletin Explains Five Safety Lessons for High-Hazard Facilities
A safety bulletin published by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) lists five lessons to help high-hazard facilities prevent incidents when preparing process equipment for maintenance. The bulletin accompanies CSB’s May 2017 final report on the 2015 chemical release and flash fire that injured one worker at the Delaware City Refining Company. According to CSB, more than a third of incidents investigated by the agency occur during maintenance activities. The lessons in the safety bulletin are intended to promote safer operations during these activities, especially non-routine operations. CSB urges high-hazard facilities to consider the following when preparing process equipment for maintenance: establish standard operating procedures for non-routine operational tasks surrounding maintenance; develop a process requiring pre-planning and hazard identification prior to initiating equipment preparation activities; avoid reliance on single-block valves when isolating equipment for emptying or decontaminating activities; evaluate the hazard when a task must be modified or expanded due to leaking valves or changing conditions; and use closed systems to control the draining or relieving of hazardous energy when preparing to isolate equipment for maintenance. CSB’s bulletin is available as a PDF.

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