Previously, Total Safety has emphasized the importance of including the need for IH resources during the planning of the turnaround to ensure that the exposure of employees (and possibly contractors) to airborne chemicals, silica, asbestos, noise, heat, radiation and other health hazards is monitored and controlled.
Pre-planning is essential for a successful turnaround because the specialized equipment and materials needed to test or detect certain materials and physical hazards may not be available on a moment’s notice. This is especially true for a chemical plant turnaround that may require testing for aldehydes, amines, cyanides or other chemicals not typically tested for in refinery turnarounds. Filter or sorbent media that are pre-treated with specific reagents are necessary to monitor for aldehydes, ketones and amines. Pesticide manufacturing plants typically require specialized testing and lab procedures to properly measure the materials of interest. Some materials, such as certain isocyanates, require the samples to be refrigerated and analyzed in the laboratory as soon as possible for accurate results. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon air samples should be wrapped in foil and shipped refrigerated by overnight delivery to prevent degradation by sunlight and elevated temperatures. Testing for hexavalent chromium fumes while welding, cutting or arc gouging on stainless steel or high temperature alloys requires different filters and lab testing than for welding fumes on common steel. Chemicals that have high ionization energies, such as methanol or sulfur dioxide, may not be detected by a typical hand held or area photoionization detector, so a modified or different type of instrument would need to be used in that case.
Another point to be clarified well before the turnaround begins is the scope of work regarding confined space entry permits and hot work permits. Just because an IH technician is walking through a unit on the way to an assignment does not mean that he or she is under contract or allowed to “sniff” a space and “sign off” on a confined space or hot work permit. Generally, a supervisory employee of the owner or operator of the refinery or chemical plant is the person with the knowledge of the process and the equipment, and therefore, the associated hazards, who should be responsible for the final sign off on such permits. If this is not clarified at the planning stage, it could cause undue delays and confusion during the turnaround itself. The ventilation of confined spaces is another aspect of turnarounds that benefits from detailed prior planning. The location of the intake of the air supply must be in a clean, uncontaminated area, and the exhaust should likewise be directed away from workers, trailers or areas used for plant traffic. Be careful where “vac” trucks are discharging their exhaust as well.
Thought should also be given to which pre-turnaround activities need as much or more IH scrutiny than the maintenance, repair or replacement work itself. Some of the greatest potential for exposure occurs while units are being brought down and drained and purged. The potential for oxygen deficient atmospheres when nitrogen purging, or reactions of residues when using high temperature steam, should be considered and appropriate monitoring and PPE provided.
Thinking ahead and communicating in detail with the turnaround’s project engineering team about what, when, who and how of each work task will ensure that the IH resources committed to the turnaround are available when and where they are needed.
For additional information about pre-planning for your turnaround, contact us at 888.44.TOTAL.
The time is now! Plan for how your facility will conduct emergency response industrial hygiene (IH) monitoring. What should you be looking for in a provider of this service? Because of the unique challenges surrounding emergency response IH monitoring, choose a provider that is able to develop written protocols/procedures, to deploy teams and equipment quickly, to provide experienced/knowledgeable personnel, quality support staff, and can adapt to ever changing conditions. Some of the more challenging issues arising specific to IH monitoring include but are not limited to mobility, flexibility, proper equipment, documentation, reporting, and site specific training.
Developing written protocols/procedures has to occur first. The protocols set the applicable exposure levels, alarm levels and actions including deployment of respiratory protection, establishment of safe zones, evacuation, shelter-in-place or other personal protective measures. Reporting mechanisms, format and timing of data reports should also be included in the protocol. It is important to remember that reports are often shared not only with the client but others as well including federal, state and local authorities. Therefore, a data management support team must be available 24/7 to provide quality assurance and create a database from which a variety of reports can be prepared quickly. Certified industrial hygienists should be utilized to write the IH sampling protocol and be available to lead project management. Summary reports that pull all of the information together at the end of the event should be prepared and retained just as any other industrial hygiene medical record.
Next comes deployment which includes both necessary equipment and a team of personnel to operate the equipment. Your provider has to have the equipment in inventory or else have connections already in place to get it. Equipment ranges from simple personal monitoring pumps to the more technologically advanced real time wireless monitoring systems with built in GPS and data management software. All of which must be rugged, portable, intrinsically safe and able to collect large quantities of data for the specific contaminant(s) of concern.
One thing often overlooked is the need for an IH Mobile Command Center. It must communicate with both the site’s incident command center and also the outside world. A high speed Internet connection is needed for monitoring data management software. A standalone IH Mobile Command Center will not interfere with the incident command center communication requirements but seamlessly integrate on site.
Training is a valuable component. Your provider should have the ability to train their own responding team and also be available to train other site workers. Monitoring personnel should have completed HAZWOPER, Incident Command, NIMS, respiratory protection and other standard courses. However, prior to deployment, training should occur on the incident IH monitoring protocol, site specific hazards, client’s procedures, reporting requirements, and equipment use.
Support away from the response is required. The provider needs to have a strong support staff provide additional resources to handle issues that may arise during the sampling. Plan now and choose your emergency response IH monitoring provider with these criteria in mind to ensure that your facility is fully prepared for any emergency response.
With the growing energy demand, midstream infrastructure is under great pressure to be delivered on time and within budget. Such pressure allows for the temptation of shortcuts to be taken or inadequate processes to be implemented in order to meet that demand.
Having processes and controls in place specifically tailored for midstream operations, as opposed to relying on those used for upstream, will streamline projects and reduce costs overall.
Specialized Safety Personnel
Having a team of personnel experienced in midstream operations aids greatly in creating an environment of safety because the team is aware of what safety precautions should and need to be taken, and they will know how to respond in case of an injury or emergency.
Total Safety assigns safety consultants, field safety crews, medics and specialized safety staff to midstream projects, long- or short-term, with the goal of maintaining high standards of safety. With Total Safety’s Specialized Safety Personnel (SPP), the billing rates are more competitive than “craftsman” billing rates, and the number of multiple contractor employees is reduced by having a centralized pool of trained safety personnel that can be dispatched and assigned to all areas of the project, reducing the total man-hour costs of the project.
Fire Protection Engineering, Design and Installation
Fire monitoring and suppression systems are an integral part of any safety program, specifically in midstream operations, as the infrastructure is typically in a remote location, a good distance from any type of outside aide. Therefore, these systems are imperative to the safety of life, assets and the environment.
Total Safety specializes in fire protection services that include providing audits and design/engineering of water spray and foam systems, fire pumps, fire detection and alarm design packages for process units, and design and installation of fire protection systems, as well as the inspection testing and maintenance of those systems.
Potential occupational hazards may include exposures to acetone and alkylates, to benzene, butadiene, hydrogen sulfide and kerosene, depending on your operations. Exposures may be encountered during pipeline activities and by tanker, rail car, ship and barge operations.
A Work Place Exposure Assessment (WEA) is at the heart of any successful industrial hygiene program. Total Safety’s comprehensive WEAs take a fresh look at tasks, materials, exposure potential and controls through a systematic approach and associated process. It results in a clearly prioritized list of actions that help ensure the well being of workers. Along with reducing incidents, benefits include reduced liability, increased productivity and safety awareness, and conformance with regulations and industry standards.
Pipeline operators constantly monitor pipelines for up-to-date measurements and leak detection and stay in touch with maintenance personnel spread over wide-areas. Operators monitoring storage tanks situated at the end of a pipeline, as well as in refineries and chemical plants, must be able to communicate around-the-clock with key personnel.
Total Safety’s communications solutions are designed to increase safety by providing immediate communication in emergency situations and maximizing productivity by allowing workers to communicate quickly.
Our top-of-the-line communications equipment, available for rent or purchase, is ideal for remote locations. Our fleet includes everything from two-way radios to mobile Internet hotspots and is backed by in-house certified technicians who maintain and upgrade the equipment.
Safety Equipment, For Rent or Purchase
Essential to any industrial operation, safety equipment is designed to protect workers and the environment; however, from personal protective equipment (PPE) to high-tech gas monitors, safety equipment only works when it is being used properly, in compliance with the manufacturer and other regulating bodies’ guidelines.
Total Safety offers a complete line of industrial safety equipment for rent or purchase. In fact, they house the world’s largest rental fleet of equipment manufactured by leaders in the industry. In addition, Total Safety employs in-house certified technicians to repair and maintain Total Safety or customer-owned equipment.
What if the unthinkable were to happen, and a leak were to occur in the pipeline? A proactive plan should be in place that addresses the necessary steps and procurement channels that should be in place to streamline recovery and get the systems back online.
With quick response time, seasoned personnel and an integrated menu of support services, Total Safety aids companies when disaster strikes. Their start-to-finish solutions are designed to deliver on the high number of customer requests and respond to the customer’s needs by providing two-way radios, fall protection, fire extinguishers, gas detection instruments, as well as the calibration and bump testing of the monitors, respiratory equipment, fit-testing, PPE resale and management, and, most importantly, safety training.
There are many aspects of a midstream project that need to work together to make the project not only successful, but safe. To overcome undesirable project outcomes, ensure that key materials, labor and contractor capabilities are planned for and that the right processes and internal control support are delivered.
By Mandy Sunderland, Sr. Industrial Hygienist, Total Safety
One of the biggest challenges facing safety and health practitioners today is ensuring that their companies operate in “proactive,” rather than “reactive,” mode. In reactive mode, an injury occurs, and an investigation is conducted to find out what happened and who to blame. Recommendations are made to address the specific incident, and corrective actions are often taken without understanding or addressing underlying system causes. This is an expensive way to operate, since corrective actions are initiated only after incidents have occurred.
Emergency response, by its nature, is reactive. Early in a response, immediate action is often required in the face of unknowns and uncertainties. The goal in an emergency is to shift from reactive response to systematic management of the incident. Advanced planning addresses a wide range of scenarios, identifies resources, training and drills. It will ensure that the equipment and resources can be obtained as quickly as possible, personnel are prepared with drills and training, and that additional staffing requirements are identified and contracted in advance so that the response effort is less frantic and more systematic.
Complacency also leads to being reactive. Well designed exposure monitoring plans fall out of date and are not refreshed. Recommendations from exposure surveys or incident investigations are not closed out and, over time, possibly forgotten. New employees don’t receive adequate training not only on equipment, but on risks and protective measures. Experienced workers take shortcuts and develop bad habits, which become normalized as “how we get it done here.” Operating processes change and new exposure hazards that are introduced to the workplace are not recognized and addressed. Failure to recognize these gaps and take proactive steps to refresh plans, knowledge, skills and training, leaves little choice but to operate in a reactive mode.
Leading an organization to a proactive approach The ultimate goal of industrial hygiene (IH) professionals is to successfully guide their organizations into operating in a proactive made, but that’s not always easy to do. One of the biggest obstacles is the lack of knowledge and understanding by management of the risk associated with operations, and the appropriate steps needed to mitigate these risks. Given a full understanding of risks and consequences, most managers will make good, proactive business decisions to prevent incidents.
In a proactive mode, IH professionals devote their time and energy into understanding hazards and risks, and taking actions to prevent injuries and exposures. Potential exposures should be analyzed to determine risk and identify which controls can be used to prevent incidents. Resulting recommendations related to corrective actions and system improvements should be implemented prior to an injury or illness occurring. In a proactive mode, all incidents are considered preventable, as opposed to being random and unavoidable.
Getting the biggest bang for your IH monitoring bucks All too often, facility management has fallen back on the same old IH sampling plan year after year. A facility without a clearly thought out, up-to-date plan to assess their workplace exposures, may sample unnecessary materials, bringing with it a false sense of security. This can occur when changes in operations, processes or materials are not recognized and evaluated. Monitoring the wrong exposures increases cost and decreases true exposure knowledge. In addition, it may become difficult to maintain compliance with regulatory standards, including ACGIH and OSHA regulations.
Sometimes a facility will opt to require respirators or personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce or control worker exposures. These types of measures far too often become a permanent control measure, but, in the long run, are expensive and difficult to maintain. Often an experienced industrial hygienist can suggest permanent simple fixes that are inexpensive and easy to maintain.
Furthermore, other programs that depend on the results of your IH monitoring, such as medical surveillance, hazard communication, respiratory protection and PPE, and exposure control (ventilation) programs, may also suffer.
Including IH in your turnaround planning During a typical plant turnaround, a large number of people work together to repair and recharge complex equipment against a tight schedule and budget. Turnarounds require a high degree of planning, scheduling and coordination, so that the right combination of equipment and personnel are available when needed.
Many turnaround plans focus on mechanical and maintenance aspects and neglect to include critical support services that help to keep activities on schedule. These support items may include safety training and management, industrial hygiene monitoring, lead and asbestos testing, perimeter monitoring and environmental monitoring. Inadequate planning for HSE support can cause unanticipated delays, resulting in increased cost, anxiety and setbacks.
Turnarounds often present significant exposure potential to hazardous chemicals not encountered during normal operations. When normally closed vessels are opened up, bundles and exchangers may be pulled, and catalysts replaced. As these jobs are not routine, sometimes only inexperienced workers are available, who require more training and supervision that are potential costs and delays of the critical path.
Protecting your employees’ hearing High noise levels on the job can result in hearing loss, as well as physical and psychological stress in the workforce. Excessive noise exposures also take a bite out employers’ pocketbooks, as they financially compensate workers. If worker exposure data and audiometric test records are not well managed and maintained, it can be difficult to make connections between exposures and symptoms of hearing loss. It is always preferable to reduce noise at the source through engineering controls, but lack of a “comprehensive hearing conservation program,” as required by OSHA, can make it difficult to analyze and implement appropriate controls.
Protecting your employees from NORM Exposure to radiation can result from natural sources, such as Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM), and not just from industrial equipment, such as material level and thickness gauges, testing equipment that contain radioactive isotopes or X-ray inspection devices, and electron microscopes.
Certain industrial processes tend to concentrate NORM and bring workers into situations of more direct or prolonged exposure and increase risk from ingestion, inhalation or absorption of radioactive materials. In the oil and gas business, NORM often flows to the surface as a by-product of oil and gas production and concentrates as scale, sands and sludge on production strings, flowlines, pipelines and production equipment.
NORM materials may then be encountered during routine maintenance, refurbishment activities and replacement operations. Disposal, reuse and recycling of NORM can cause occupational exposures as well. Improper handling and maintenance of industrial radiation sources can also lead to elevated exposures. Health effects from exposure to radiation may occur shortly after exposure or may be delayed for months or even years, which can make it difficult to track.
Ensuring health protection during an emergency Natural and man-made disasters present costly challenges for industry today. A large scale disaster can disrupt or shut down business operations, cause physical or environmental damage and release hazardous materials that threaten the health of employees and the public.
Lack of proactive IH sampling plans during emergencies for exposures, both inside and outside the fence, can result in workforce and public anxiety and increase potential liability and unwanted media attention. Failure to communicate a clear understanding of what happened, what the potential exposures are, related exposure standards and potential health effects can destroy credibility.
With all the challenges that we face as leaders in the HSE field, we understand the importance of focusing energy on key issues in the workplace today and taking steps toward working in the proactive mode as regular operating practice. Once accomplished, we can provide leadership and direction to the workplace, bring vitality to the practice of IH, facilitate industry to adapt to ever challenging situations and save money!
“We are honored to have Pacific’s talented team join the Total Safety family,” said David E. Fanta, Chief Executive Officer of Total Safety. “Canada remains a very strategic market for Total Safety and we have many clients asking us to expand our service offering to include industrial hygiene and occupational safety. Working with Peter and the other professionals at Pacific, we will now be able to provide an even more comprehensive suite of safety solutions in this key market.”
Pacific Environmental, headquartered in Vancouver and founded in 1990, provides engineering and consulting services focused on worker health and safety. Those services incorporate Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (“CCOHS”)/Provincial Workers Compensation Board (“WCP”) regulatory requirements in the delivery of workplace environmental and industrial hygiene consulting services to a wide range of customers in Western Canada.
Its core industrial hygiene competencies include worker exposure monitoring, air quality assessments, laboratory analysis and chemical safety audits. Pacific also handles environmental consulting and assessments, hazardous material audits, worker training programs, health and safety audits, confined space audits, fall protection programs and workplace regulation reviews in consultation with regulatory authorities.
Peter Hansen, Pacific’s President and Co-Founder, stated, “This is a very exciting time for our employees and clients. The synergy between our two companies will accelerate market growth and career opportunities, a true winning combination. The Pacific team looks forward to partnering with such a dynamic team, offering our customers additional services, and complementing Total Safety’s current Canadian portfolio while continuing to add value for our clients.”
By Mandy Sunderland, Senior Industrial Hygienist , Total Safety
Turnarounds can be expensive in terms of lost production while the process unit is offline, and in direct costs for labor, tools, heavy equipment and materials used to execute the project.
A well planned and executed turnaround helps ensure the project is conducted safely and efficiently, so the unit can be returned to operation as quickly as possible. Tremendous effort typically goes into planning and coordinating the various aspects to ensure all necessary repairs and maintenance are conducted during the turnaround, so the unit doesn’t have to be shut down again until the next planned turnaround. However, far too often industrial hygiene issues are not adequately addressed in the early phases of turnaround planning. Playing catch-up in this area can have a negative impact on worker safety, project budget and schedule.
To help ensure turnaround success, the following industrial hygiene items should be considered during planning:
DETERMINE potential exposures to chemical agents well in advance and identify requirements for trained personnel and equipment. Based on potential exposures, the project may require IH devices such as real time direct reading instruments to measure agents such as total hydrocarbons or H2S. Personal and area air samples for laboratory analysis may also be required to measure specific agents in welding fumes or catalyst.
DEVELOP clear guidelines for PPE (personal protective equipment) use throughout the project, including respiratory protection, hearing protection, gloves, coveralls and safety shoes. Access control plans should be developed to ensure workers aren’t exposed to hazards unnecessarily. Special attention should be given to any jobs involving confined space entry. Defining and communicating PPE requirements in advance helps ensure that contractors will provide proper equipment and trained personnel.
DEFINE the types and numbers of worker and activities to be monitored. An IH sampling strategy should be developed which sets requirements for full shift TWA (time weighted average) sampling or activity specific STEL (short term exposure limit) sampling. Some operators monitor their own company employees, but require contractors to monitor their own workers. Coordinating these plans will help prioritize resources to better protect workers.
UNDERSTAND the full scope and length of the turnaround. Determine if IH monitoring will be required during the preparation phase, actual shutdown, line breaks, vessel entries or start up and commissioning. Ensure adequate and appropriate IH materials, supply and support are available throughout the project.
DECIDE which analytical laboratories will be used for IH samples. Agree on the types of reports needed (e.g. full report with specific recommendations or rough data only). Consider who will need to see results in order to keep the project running smoothly and maximize worker protection.
ANTICIPATE the unexpected. Don’t get caught off guard by unexpected exposures to NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material), asbestos or PCBs. If you don’t have a clear picture of potential exposures, bring in an IH expert to conduct a survey of the project area and a review of the turnover plan.
In summary, a comprehensive industrial hygiene strategy will help ensure your next turnaround project is completed safely, within budget and on schedule. Therefore during your next turnaround planning cycle be sure to thoroughly examine industrial hygiene issues in your decision making process. It can save you bucks!
Total Safety, the global leader of integrated industrial safety services and equipment, announces it has acquired ICU Environmental, Health & Safety, which provides a full range of environmental, health and safety services to public and private sector clients.
“We are very pleased to announce this most recent acquisition and to have the employees of ICU join Total Safety,” said David E. Fanta, Chief Executive Officer of Total Safety. “By adding this experienced team and strategic offering to our suite of services, we can provide our valued clients an even more comprehensive safety solution.”
ICU offers a variety of EHS services including industrial hygiene, safety inspections and audits, process safety management services, regulatory compliance, HSE training programs, asbestos consulting services, indoor air quality consulting, environmental due diligence assessments, environmental air permitting consulting, risk assessment and strategic environmental management advisory services. Founded in 1993, ICU is multi-disciplinary organization dedicated to providing relevant, accurate and cost-effective business solutions to clients in both domestic and international facilities, and possesses the resources necessary to respond to all types of EHS project requirements. The Company has offices located in The Woodlands, Texas; Beaumont, Texas; and Washington, DC.
Kathy Harkey and Janet Wiiki, ICU’s co-founders, stated, “This is a very exciting time for our employees and clients. The synergy between our two companies will allow for market growth and employment opportunities, a true winning combination. The ICU team looks forward to partnering with such a dynamic team and contributing to the overall continued success of Total Safety.”
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:
On June 15th, Total Safety U.S., Inc. acquired Payne Services, Inc. (PSI). Payne Services’ primary lines of business include safety personnel and staff, confined space attendants, safety training, and contract industrial hygienists. The company was founded in 1989 and has service locations in Donaldsonville, LA, Pasadena, TX, and Corpus Christi, TX, which further complements Total Safety’s presence on the Gulf Coast.
“We are very excited about Payne Services joining the Total Safety family. The business lines Payne delivers are extremely complementary to the safety services Total Safety provides and will further broaden our service offering,” said David E. Fanta, Chief Executive Officer of Total Safety. “The combination of Payne’s personnel services management system and Total Safety’s extensive sales network will allow us to grow the business globally and meet the expectations of customers as they seek enhanced integrated safety solutions in today’s active market.”
“The opportunity to combine Payne’s safety services with Total Safety’s global presence was too appealing to ignore. The petrochemical and refining industry will no longer have to hire multiple safety contractors for their turnaround and maintenance safety needs,” said Robbie Payne, Vice President of Payne Services. “I am even more excited to join such a well respected industry leader and look forward to continuing to provide the highest level of service to our clients.”
The combination of these two well respected companies and their management and employee teams will continue to allow us to meet the expectations of our customers and further provide our enhanced safety service solutions. Our number one goal is to make this change as smooth as possible and to continue to execute our mission, “to ensure the safe Wellbeing of Workers Worldwide”.