Equipment Piping Process Safety Management

Process safety programs require that all equipment be designed, operated and maintained to the highest standards. In practical terms this requirement means that if the equipment and piping always retains its integrity, i.e., if it does not leak, then then highly hazardous materials will not be released. (The term used by OSHA — Mechanical Integrity — is too limiting; integrity programs should incorporate instrumentation and other non-mechanical items. The phrase ‘Asset Integrity’ is a better choice.)

Piping and valves have their own topic page.

Equipment Covered

The following is a list of the typical equipment covered by a process safety asset integrity program.

  • Pressure Vessels and Columns
  • Storage Tanks
  • Pumps
  • Compressors
  • Turbines
  • Heat Exchangers
  • Air-Cooled Exchangers
  • Cooling Towers
  • Fired Heaters
  • Flares / Blowdown
  • Boilers
  • Internal Combustion Engines
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Buildings

Regulations, Codes and Standards

There are many regulations, codes and standards to do with the mechanical integrity element of process safety management programs. Some of the key standards-setting bodies are:

  • American Chemistry Council / Responsible Care®
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
  • American Petroleum Institute (API)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

In the United States important process safety management regulations are published by:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) 
  • The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)

Articles and Safety Moments

Articles, safety moments and other publications are listed below.
 


You are welcome to use this Safety Moment in your workplace. But there are restrictions — please read Use of Safety Moments.

Copyright © Ian Sutton. 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Safety Moment #89: Layout of Process Facilities

Siting

The words ‘siting’ and ‘layout’ are often used interchangeably, but, strictly speaking, they have different meanings. Siting is concerned with the location of a facility. For example, if a company is planning on building a new chemical plant its management may consider the relative merits of sites in Texas, Mexico or China. Layout, on the other hand, is to do with the locations of equipment, piping and buildings at the selected site and how they connect with one another.

Safety Moment #57: Equipment Spacing (Pumps/Pipe Racks)

Pump seals are a frequent source of leaks in process and energy facilities. Moreover, the discharged liquid will normally be at high pressure, so it can travel a long distance and/or form a spray. Therefore, when laying out a facility it is important to make sure that pumps are located at a safe distance from other equipment and piping. (If the facility is already constructed and in operation it is still useful to consider spacing and layout guidelines.

Equipment Isolation Methods

Isolation Methods

Positive isolation methods are those which remain effective even if there is equipment failure or operator error. These techniques apply not only to vessels, piping and tanks but also to pneumatic and hydraulic equipment.

The sketch shows some of the various isolation techniques that can be used to protect workers in the process industries. The process containing toxic or flammable chemicals under pressure is on the left; the open system, where the workers are present, is on the right. The order is from the least to the most secure.