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Category Archives: Respiratory Service Solutions

Silica Dust Exposure During Fracking

By John Baker, Total Safety Certified Industrial Hygienist

The public debate about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has weighed the potential for environmental pollution versus the economic and energy independence benefits which fracking has unlocked. But recently, worker exposure to silica dust during fracking has been highlighted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

One commonly used method of fracking requires large volumes of sand and water to be pumped into wells at high pressures to break up tight formations, like shale, which have trapped oil and gas. Many truckloads of sand are off loaded and transferred by conveyor belts before being mixed with water and other chemicals and pumped downhole. The dust produced, which may contain up to 99% crystalline silica, is a health concern due to the risk of silicosis, a progressive and disabling lung disease.

Several oil and gas companies partnered with NIOSH in the collection of 116 personal air samples at 11 fracking sites in five states. Almost half of the air samples exceeded the enforceable OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), which is defined on a sliding scale depending on the amount of silica in the respirable fraction of dust collected. NIOSH has established a recommended silica exposure limit (REL) of 0.05 mg/m3. Almost 80% of the samples exceeded this REL.

Until a safe and economically viable substitute can be found or engineering controls such as exhaust ventilation are installed, personal protective equipment including respirators must be used. A NIOSH approved, properly fitted and worn half mask or filtering facepiece dust respirator provides protection only up to 10 times the relevant occupational exposure limit. Almost 10% of the samples were at least 10 times the OSHA PEL and 30% of the samples were at least 10 times the NIOSH REL. Dust respirators alone may not adequately protect workers from the risk of silicosis during fracking.  An OSHA NIOSH hazard alert may be downloaded at http://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.pdf  . This excellent document provides detailed information about the study and links to additional information.

Industry and government are continuing to cooperate on finding workable controls. Rick Ingram, S.G.E, BP North America Gas, and the Chairperson of the National STEPS network states that:

NIOSH, OSHA and the US Onshore E&P Industry have been working in a cooperative effort to ensure that we fully understand this issue and protect our workers. As part of this effort, a focus group has been formed to further explore respirable silica, share best practices and develop a unified plan forward. Our industry has much to be proud of. We have the privilege of helping to supply low cost domestic energy to our nation while providing high quality, good paying jobs. Through the efforts of industry associations, organizations and agencies such as API, AESC, IADC, IPAA, SafeLandUSA, National STEPS Network, NIOSH, OSHA, educational institutions and countless dedicated individuals and professionals, we are we are working diligently to make our industry segment the safest of all industries. The fact that this hazard was identified and is being mitigated though voluntary, cooperative efforts demonstrates how far we have progressed and the very positive future of health and safety in US Onshore Exploration and Production segment.  To learn more, visit www.nationalstepsnetwork.com.

To learn more about potential respiratory hazards during fracking, call us at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety Releases New Edition of Services and Products Catalog

Total Safety releases a new edition of its Services and Products Catalog.Total Safety, the leading global provider of integrated safety solutions and services, announces the release of its new services and products catalog. Current with industry trends, the catalog presents the latest industrial safety services and equipment and keeps customers outfitted with the best the market has to offer.

State-of-the-Art Safety Equipment and Services

Featuring a range of safety equipment — from the tried-and-true to the latest-and-greatest — Total Safety’s catalog is designed to give the reader a glimpse at equipment and services that are geared towards keeping their workers, community and environment safe.

The catalog features eight sections of safety equipment for rent and/or purchase, including:

Respiratory Protection
Gas Detection
Fire Protection
Communications
Fall Protection
Safety
Marine Specialties
Specialty

“Customers can shop a wide range of equipment for rent or purchase and be assured that they are serviced by a company who will stand behind it, ” emphasizes Mark Barker, Total Safety vice president of global sales. “In addition, we offer in-house certified technicians, materials management services and more to support that equipment and keep workers safe.”

Readers will find a section dedicated to Total Safety’s comprehensive services. “We wanted this catalog to not only be a quick highlight of the equipment we offer, but we wanted to showcase what makes us the best in the industry — our people. Our people are trained experts in their field and provide top-notch safety services that keep people and the environment safe globally,” said Charles Ripoll, Total Safety executive vice president of marketing and business development.

Total Safety collaborated with Marion Interactive to manage the new catalog’s concept, development, electronic production and printing. Marion Interactive has been a long term partner of Total Safety, and also designed and manages the Total Safety website. In addition, Marion Interactive developed and programmed the technology for the online catalog. “It takes writers, designers, programmers and a creative design team to build a product like this, and all must work closely with Total Safety sales, procurement, and marketing staff,” said Marion Interactive CEO Aaron Ellisor. “Great communication between client and supplier is key to success.”

Catalogs can be ordered by calling 888-448-6825 or online at totalsafety.com.

Online Catalog

Total Safety is updating the online version of its catalog to give clients easier access to the rental or purchase of safety equipment.

Handling Petroleum Coke in a Safe and Healthful Manner

By John Baker, Total Safety Certified Industrial Hygienist

For Environmental Health and Safety Services, Go Total SafetyPetroleum coking is an environmentally responsible recycling process used in some oil refineries to make the most use of hydrocarbon residuals that otherwise would go to waste. As safety and health professionals, we are sure to control the high temperature and pressure used in the coke domes to “bake” the volatiles out of the coke and the drill and high pressure water sprays used to cut the coke out of the coke domes.  However, critical safety and health hazards are present in the material handling processes used to move petroleum coke to storage and ultimately, to the customer. Enclosed conveyors are often used to move the coke into a storage building and then onto docks for loading onto barges, ships or to land based transportation loading facilities. The rollers moving the conveyor belt, the motors powering the rollers, vibrating screens and the limited space for personnel movement and access within the conveyor structure all present potential physical and electrical hazards which must be addressed in the Job Safety Analysis for production and maintenance tasks. Personnel must perform constant maintenance of the conveyors, often spending a considerable portion of a work shift crawling under conveyors to vacuum or sweep and shovel spillage. Even if the vacuum system is in top condition, the awkward space constraints of the conveyor gallery present ergonomic challenges that must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

A potentially catastrophic hazard which must be controlled in coke handling operations is the possibility of a combustible dust explosion or deflagration. Petroleum coke is readily able to form dust clouds of finely divided, combustible material. OSHA’s National Emphasis Program for Combustible Dust (CPL-03-00-008) emphasizes the need for administrative and engineering controls including immediate housekeeping, prevention of ignition sources, ventilation with spark detection and explosion/deflagration suppression systems, explosion venting and other  pressure relief devices, when a combustible dust layer exceeds 1/32 of an inch (about the thickness of a typical paper clip) on more than 5% of the floor area of a facility or any given room.

Total Safety studied the dust exposure potential of a petroleum coke handling operation at a large refinery that shipped its coke on ocean going vessels. Particle size analysis of the bulk coke product indicated that throughout the material handling process, more than 65% was smaller than the 40 mesh or 425 micrometer size that OSHA, NFPA and other authorities use as a first step in assessing the potential to form a combustible dust cloud. The bulk coke had less than 5 percent in the “respirable” particle size range of 4 micrometers; however the dust which wafted off the bulk material at transfer points as measured by an optical particle counter indicated that the majority of the airborne dust was in the “respirable” range. Personal samples of airborne dust were collected on filters connected to air sampling pumps worn by each worker. The filter cassettes were wrapped in aluminum foil before sampling and kept refrigerated afterward to prevent degradation of the collected chemicals. The collected dust was weighed and then chemically analyzed for “coal tar pitch volatiles (CTPV).”  Two of the samples exceeded 0.2 milligrams of CTPV per cubic meter of air and were further analyzed for specific compounds within the “polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH)” chemical category. Neither sample showed any detectable amounts of PAH compounds.  NIOSH approved half mask respirators with P100 filters provided adequate protection if properly worn according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

In summary, petroleum coke is an economically important recycled material which can be managed in a safe and healthful manner when the associated hazards are anticipated, recognized, evaluated and controlled in a systematic program.

For additional information regarding the health and safety of your workplace, call us at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety Leads Hydrogen Sulfide Safety Discussion with China’s Sinopec Group

Total Safety recently hosted executives from Sinopec Group, one of the largest Chinese state-owned petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group, at its La Porte, Texas, facility to lead a discussion on hydrogen sulfide (H2S) safety.Total Safety recently hosted executives from Sinopec Group, one of the largest Chinese state-owned petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group, at its La Porte, Texas, facility to lead a discussion on hydrogen sulfide (H2S) safety. The meeting was part of an initiative of the Houston Mayor’s Office of International Trade & Development.

Sinopec executives were visiting Houston to meet with upstream energy leaders and, as part of that trip, requested to meet with a health, safety and environmental (HSE) services company with expertise in (i) risk identification, risk assessment and risk control, (ii) emergency preplanning and contingency planning, and (iii) the development of gas fields with high hydrogen sulfide content.

“With our worldwide capabilities and expertise concerning hydrogen sulfide (H2S), Total Safety welcomed the opportunity to share our experience and expertise around risk identification, assessment and control,” said Jude Taylor, regional general manager for Total Safety. “The safety of workers worldwide is paramount and the discussion focused on how to build on its efforts of continued improvement in this area of operations.”

During the facility tour, Sinopec executives witnessed first-hand Total Safety’s safety culture and how it educates its customers on the importance of safety in the workplace. They also learned about Total Safety and its entire suite of industrial safety services and equipment.

Hydrogen Sulfide: What’s the Stink?

By Mandy Sunderland, Industrial Hygiene Specialist, Total Safety

For the best in H2S Protection Services & Equipment, go Total Safety.In response to concerns over new toxicological data on the effects of chronic exposure to hydrogen sulfide (H2S), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has voted to substantially reduce their recommended exposure limits for H2S. They have dropped their 8 hour time weighted average Threshold Limit Value (TLV-TWA8) for H2S from 10 ppm to 1 ppm, and their Short Term Exposure Limit (TLV-STEL) from 15 ppm to 5 ppm. Unfortunately, most H2S measurement and monitoring equipment currently available for use in the workplace isn’t accurate in the 1 ppm range.  Confirming compliance with the new standards will be a challenge for health and safety practitioners.

ACGIH TLV’s reflects industry consensus on the level of exposure a typical worker can experience without unreasonable risk of disease or injury. Unlike Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL’s) set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), TLV’s are voluntary standards and not enforceable by law. However, most employers adopt them in order to help ensure maximum protection of employees in the workplace. 

So what’s the stink about H2S?

Hydrogen sulfide is an extremely toxic and irritating gas. It has a strong odor of rotten eggs at low concentrations, but deadens the sense of smell at higher concentrations, which can mask its presence. Inhalation of 500-1000 ppm will cause rapid unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis and asphyxiation. Inhalation of low concentrations may cause headache, dizziness and upset stomach. Even at concentrations under 5 ppm, metabolic changes and increased anxiety have been reported in people who are exercising.

Three primary types of instruments are used to detect and monitor H2S exposures: fixed area detectors, portable area detectors, and personal detectors. Fixed area detectors alert operators to leaks and releases in the workplace and have typically been set to alarm at concentrations of 10 to 15 ppm. Portable area detectors are used to test confined spaces and general work areas to confirm elevated levels of H2S are not present. Personal detectors are worn by employees and will sound an audible alarm at levels of 10 to 15 ppm.  A wide variety of reliable and well regarded H2S detectors which measure and alarm in the 10 ppm range are available to industry.  However, there is limited availability of detectors which operate accurately in the 1 ppm range.

In November 2009, in anticipation of the new ACGIH reduced exposure limits for H2S, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) completed an extensive report entitled a Feasibility Study on Responding to a Lower Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure Limit for Workers.  This study identified some limited options for commercially available equipment that measure H2S to 1 ppm.  While this measurement technology exists, not all of it is feasible for use in the workplace, or considered to be consistently sensitive enough to measure concentrations at 1 ppm.   Validated methods listed in the study include a Colorimetric Detector Tube system to measure TLV-TWA8 and Electrochemical Sensor Meters for use as personal detectors.  Of the six portable detectors listed, only two are feasible for use in the workplace. Gold Film detectors appeared promising, but are not suitable for use in hazardous locations.

So where does that leave the safety and health practitioner?  Most of us will have to continue to rely on current detector technology which may not provide reliable and accurate measurements at the new TLV’s while we wait for innovations from manufacturers and suppliers.  On the practical side, if there are known concentrations of H2S in the workplace, we can take extra precautions to minimize worker exposures by installing engineering controls and taking prompt action in response to leaks and alarms.  Common sense and good judgment, combined with smart use of existing technology, will enable us to continue to provide adequate protection to the workforce until the next generation of H2S detection and monitoring equipment arrives.

For more information on Total Safety and how we can equip your company with the best in H2S protection and safety services, give us a call at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety – The Best Minds in the Business!

Total Safety Enters Industrial Hygiene Services Business

Houston – August 25, 2009

Total Safety, the global leader of integrated industrial safety services and equipment, is expanding into Industrial Hygiene Services and will provide comprehensive solutions for exposure monitoring, hazard and risk assessments, respiratory protection programs, ergonomic assessments, indoor air quality, asbestos, and lead and mold monitoring. In addition, Richard Matherne, CIH, has joined Total Safety as Manager of Industrial Hygiene Services. Richard has over 30 years experience as a Certified Industrial Hygienist in the petrochemical industry.

“We are excited to enter this new line of business, and Richard’s experience and knowledge will ensure we will continue to meet the needs of our customers,” said Paul Tyree, Vice President of US Operations.

Total Safety also offers customized safety services built around each customer’s specific requirements, including:

Learn more about Total Safety’s entire line of industrial safety services & equipment by calling us at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety – The Best Minds in the Business!

Total Safety Releases All New 2009 – 2010 Products & Services Catalog

Houston – July 27, 2009

Total Safety, the global leader of integrated industrial safety services and equipment, announces the release of its new products and services catalog. This nearly 200-page, full-color catalog showcases thousands of safety products, equipment and safety services gathered from around the globe.

State-of-the-Art Safety Equipment

“The goal of this publication was not only to feature top brand products and services, but to provide a comprehensive guide for all the latest in cutting-edge safety services and equipment. Total Safety’s catalog represents the world’s best safety products all in one centralized place to make our customers’ jobs easier and to keep them safer,” said Charles Ripoll, Total Safety Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.

Each of the seven main sections features products and services that are for rent and/or direct purchase. The seven sections include:

“While the catalog is very in-depth with an extensive listing of products and services, the catalog is easy to read which makes ordering very simple. As an added feature, we included industry resource guides to help customers make educated decisions about the appropriate safety equipment they’ll need for their particular requirements,” said Paul Tyree, Total Safety Vice President U.S. Operations.

Catalogs can be ordered by calling 888-448-6825 or online at www.totalsafety.com.

Online Catalog

Scheduled to debut in September, Total Safety is launching an e-commerce version of the catalog where products and services will also be available online for purchase or rent.

“We understand that different customers want different options when it comes to ordering their safety products and services. Our e-commerce catalog will feature all the services our customers expect in a way that’s perhaps more convenient for them,” said Ripoll.

Find out more about how Total Safety can provide your company with a complete line of industrial safety services & equipment by calling us at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety – The Best Minds in the Business!

Total Safety Reaches International Offshore Milestone

Houston – January 26, 2009

Total Safety, the global leader of integrated industrial safety services and equipment, completed one of its largest refurbishing projects to date for Hercules Offshore, a leading provider of offshore contract drilling, liftboat and inland barge services.

Project Spanned from Houston to Dubai

Safety solution design and procurement of this international project started in Houston, Texas at Total Safety’s corporate headquarters, and the project was managed from Total Safety’s on-site office in Dubai, UAE. Refurbishing and updating the safety systems of two Hercules Offshore rigs (261 & 262) was completed on-site in Lamprell Shipyard in Sharjah, UAE.

“There is a reason why Total Safety is a leader in the safety industry. Their team was able to meet moving deadlines, eliminate any delivery problems, and they constantly adjusted the scope of work to meet our requirements,” said Terry Simpson, Hercules Offshore HSE Manager, Saudi Arabia.

Exclusive Safety Provider

Total Safety was the only safety company on location and completed the project incident free and 3 weeks ahead of schedule. The safety service provider was responsible for numerous initiatives in assisting Hercules Offshore to meet industry compliance mandates.

New systems included: fire protection and detection, gas detection, fire suppression, breathing air, helideck foam systems and other life safety equipment.

“This was an amazing project that demonstrated a great partnership between Total Safety and Hercules Offshore. Their team demonstrated the highest quality of skills and expertise,” said Emilio Flores, Total Safety’s International Project Manager, who was specifically chosen by Hercules Offshore to lead the project.

Find out why Total Safety in the leading provider of industrial safety services & equipment by calling us at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total safety – The Best Minds in the Business!

Total Safety Expands to Enhance Workers Safety

Houston – December 16, 2008

To meet the growing demand of safety service solutions, Total Safety opens 4 new service centers- Benicia, CA, Signal Hill, CA, Shreveport, LA, Tulsa, OK – and expands to new offices in Denver, CO and Sulphur, LA.

All Total Safety locations are equipped with expert service capabilities serving the industrial sector including the rental, sales and service of:

Total Safety also offers customized safety services built around each customer’s specific requirements.

“We’re expanding to meet the needs of our customers. That’s always our first priority- to keep workers
safe and companies in compliance,” said Paul Tyree, Total Safety Vice President, U.S. Operations.

New Locations:

Benicia, CA
518 Stone Road
Benicia, CA 94510
707.747.5879

Signal Hill, CA
2701 Junipero Avenue
Signal Hill, CA 90755
562.490.6800

Denver, CO
5590 Havana Street, Unit A
Denver, CO 80239
303.766.1501

Shreveport, LA (January 2009)
500 Flournoy Lucas Road, Building 5
Shreveport, LA 71106
318.671.8965

New Offices:

Sulphur, LA
3205 Metric Drive
Sulphur, LA 70665
337.708.2100

Tulsa, OK
1327 North 105th East Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74116
918.835.8242

Find out more information about Total Safety and any of our industrial safety services & equipment by calling 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety – The Best Minds in the Business!

Total Safety: Keep your workers safe and grow your bottom line

By Marty Tesselaar, UK District Manager, Total Safety

November 2008 Energy International

Leading industrial companies around the world know a good thing when they use it. They hire BEH/Total Safety because of its impeccable reputation for providing customized safety and compliance solutions. They trust the company to optimize workflows, accelerate project lifecycles, improve efficiency and alleviate administrative burdens all without compromising their own core competencies.

They do this all by adhering to one rule and one rule only. It is their promise and pledge that they keep to their clients, to their staff and to their families every single day. BEH/Total Safety’s mission is to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide (W3).

Their team of over 1400 experts now operates in 37 locations, in 11 countries spanning 5 continents. Two of these facilities proudly reside in the United Kingdom-Knottingley, West Yorkshire and Aberdeen, Scotland. The company is here locally and 100% committed to serve their customers with two of their strongest business lines.

One of the world’s largest fleet of wireless gas detection systems

Only BEH/Total Safety has the people, programs and processes to deliver one of the industry’s best and largest gas detection instrumentation to local operations. Working with this team allows businesses to hire premium equipment at competitive prices, therefore optimizing their investments in safety devices. Customers can also expect unsurpassed quality of service and repair because BEH/Total Safety only utilizes the highest standard of testing and calibration. Don’t allow bottlenecks during turnarounds to stop production. From refining and petrochemical facilities to offshore drilling platforms, this company provides the top quality gas detection solutions that companies need to keep their people safe and their operations profitable.

This is just a small example of the types of instruments BEH/Total Safety carries.

Exclusive turnkey H2S custom respiratory protection solutions

This safety company is also the expert at delivering custom respiratory solutions packaged for strict operating demands, such as their H2S service for oil and gas drilling environments. By recruiting and training only the best technicians, BEH/Total Safety is trusted industry-wide to develop site-specific contingency plans and provide turnaround safety services and consultation to keep companies up and running.

Plus, they are a highly respected source for respiratory (SCBA) equipment hires and sales and respiratory pulmonary function tests with fit testing. With the best minds in the business handling respiratory needs, companies have a single-source partner for all Grade D breathing air demands. Below is a small sample of what BEH/Total Safety offers in respiratory services.

Equipment service, compliance and engineering

This team of safety experts meticulously services all of the equipment that they sell and hire which means everything is maintained for optimum performance and regulatory compliance standards.

Industry leaders rely on BEH/Total Safety’s on-site or in-shop services where trained and certified technicians are on call around the clock, seven days a week. Because services are custom built to a customer’s specifications, this service infrastructure eliminates equipment-related bottlenecks to keep projects on time and within budget.

On-site service

BEH/Total Safety’s expertise makes gas detection services and respiratory protection solutions fast and easy. Their In-Plant Service Centers (IPSCs) make equipment sales, service, maintenance, upgrade, documentation and management more economical by stationing their assets where companies need them most.

To learn more about Total Safety or any of our industrial safety services & equipment, give us a call at 888.44.TOTAL.

Total Safety – The Best Minds in the Business!