It goes without saying that safety should be the highest priority for every company, and ensuring a safe work environment around your oxidizer is no exception.
When working around an oxidizer, common safety gear is prudent- if not required by the facility. Protective eyewear helps prevent eye injuries from rust or other particulates, sharp corners, etc. A hard hat keeps your skull safe from structural members and potentially dropped tools. Gloves, long-sleeve shirts and steel -toed boots are essential. Finally, depending on the work, knee-protection might be a good recommendation.
The internal portions of every oxidizer are considered confined space. Every standard for confined space entry should be adhered to.
Burners, fans, and dampers are all components you want to operate with the highest care. Anything less could result in serious injuries. ALL lock-out/tag-out procedures should be followed rigorously. Any additional physical locking mechanisms provided or recommended by the manufacturer should be utilized.
High temperature equipment
Every oxidizer is a high temperature piece of equipment. Insulation on units can vary. Caution should be used when working around the oxidizer to ensure no contact is made with any hot surfaces. Personnel working on the unit should have available and wear all personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to prevent burns.
Doors and access panels
NESTEC recommends and provides as standard components to our oxidizers, access doors to all areas requiring or potentially requiring maintenance. Doors not only decrease service costs due to time saved, they also help prevent injury. Unbolting and handling a large access panel is simply another chance one might become injured.
Oxidizers can be very large systems. NESTEC typically recommend the installation of permanent structures and platforms for standard inspection and maintenance activities. Our units have a burner access platform with ladders or stairs and virtually every exhaust stack we provide has a permanent platform for test purposes. When working on other parts of the system, harnesses and fall protection should be used.
Every oxidizer is supplied with a stack. At almost every facility, the oxidizer stack is the tallest point on the property. Appropriate actions should be taken to guard against any threat of lightning.
An operating oxidizer generates heat. Working in the summer on a unit located outside, operating or not, can greatly increase the workers’ risks of heat related injuries- heat stress and heat stroke. Adequate liquids and cooling facilities should be available throughout the day. It should also be noted that the skin temperature of a unit in the sun may present its’ own danger.
While this is not a comprehensive list, it does highlight some of the hazards of working around oxidizers. Experienced personnel know and are certified in the appropriate procedures. Personal protection equipment is made available by quality companies. A short “tailgate” safety meeting before the start of every shift is very helpful in keeping safety foremost on the project teams’ minds. Because at the end of the day, making it home whole and healthy is really what matters most.