Throughout the past few months, ignition source safety has become an increasingly important subject. Being aware of the safe practices for ignition sources can help save the lives of you and others around you.
So what exactly does it mean to be aware of your ignition sources and the aspects required to stay safe around them? Let’s take a look!
Make sure the equipment you are using is intrinsically safe and explosion proof. Intrinsically safe pieces of electrical equipment will limit the electrical and thermal energy to a level below that required to ignite a specific hazardous mixture. If equipment is rated as explosion proof, it can be used to prevent high voltage and amperage equipment from producing a source of ignition. In these pieces, a heavy enclosure surrounds the spark producing component, so that in the event of an explosion, it is contained.
The kind of hand tools that are used is also extremely important. Tools should be non-sparking, or also sometimes referred to as “spark-reduced” or “spark-resistant”. These tools are made of non-ferrous materials, or metals that do not contain iron and are not magnetic. Examples of non-ferrous metals are aluminum, aluminum alloys, and copper. These can be used where flammable gases, highly volatile liquids, and other explosive substances are present to help decrease the possibility of ignitions or explosions.
Lastly, ensure the tanks and hoses that are being used are grounded and bonded for fluid transfers. This prevents the opportunity of flammable liquids from being ignited from static electricity.
When it comes to ignition source safety, lockout and tagout (LOTO) are great additional precautions that can help prevent mishaps. Before even starting work, ensure that your lines are locked and tagged by placing a lockout device and a tagout device on the line, ensuring it cannot be operated until the devices are removed.
To take complete defenses, also double check that your lines are isolated and ventilated before starting work.
Your companies LOTO policy and procedures should be made available to you and also trained on at least once a year.
Going beyond the equipment, paying attention to your surrounding environment is just as important. First, be able to identify where your muster area, or emergency assembly point, is located.
Weather is constantly changing, especially here in Colorado, so take note of the continuous change in the direction of the wind. In the case of needed evacuation, ALWAYS evacuate upwind or crosswind.
Taking all of these provisions into account, along with ensuring your 4-gas monitors are on, calibrated, bump-tested, and in the breathing zone, you can help prevent any hazards or explosions due to overlooked ignition sources.
What other safe practices does your team have for ignition source safety?