Vessels under pressure – Pressurized vessels can be extremely dangerous as the content they carry is often dangerous by itself, while an exploding vessel can be a danger too. Pressurized vessels are often used to carry fuels. Most fuels are highly flammable and toxic when inhaled therefore, it is vital that a thorough risk assessment is conducted on vessels on a regular basis and inspectors should insist on strict compliancy without any lenience.

Pressure vessels are is provided with pressure equipment. Employers should be knowledgeable about the components that come along with the equipment as vessels should only operate with all components fitted. These include meters and electrical equipment. Having a pressure vessel with missing components can contribute to serious accidents and injuries.

Pressure vessels should be in a good working order at all times. A risk assessment should detect defects, distortions and measures should be suggested to ensure the hazards are either eliminated to acceptable levels or are completely removed. Any weakness or cracks identified in a pressure vessel should be reported immediately to relevant authorities so that safety measures are implemented to prevent such hazards from causing future accidents. Also, a time limit for fixing them should be set and followed up by a further inspection.

A risk assessment should not only look at the physical nature of the vessel but it should also establish if gas fuel is handled, stored and distributed in compliance with an approved safety standard. Employers have the duty of seeking information about safety standards with regards to vessels so that they do not breach the law. The safety standards should be produced by the company under inspection so that they are scrutinised by an expert. Alongside, written proof should be produced to certify that all people involved in using and handling pressure vessels are fully aware of the various requirements and are complying with them. This will go a long way in prevent and reducing the frequency of accidents in the workplace.

Access to and from a pressure vessel or a boiler should not be destructed or obstructed in any manner. Employers should ensure that before the erection of a vessel or boiler they assess the environment where they want to mount a vessel. Special attention should be given to easing the access to this equipment. This will significantly help employees to exit this particular place in case of an accident or emergency. Obstructed exits or entrance could contribute to employees getting stuck when they need to escape an emergency and as fuel is highly flammable, they may be quickly engulfed in flames within a short space of time.

Employers should only accept vessels that are marked with pressure limits by the manufacturer. Various pressure vessels operate under various pressure levels hence; having unmarked vessels could contribute to accidents as pressure vessels would be over-pressured, something that can result in an explosion. The reduced maximum permissible operating pressure should be clearly reflected on the manufacturer's plate. An inspector should discontinue the use of unmarked pressured vessels as they may pose as a safety threat.

The General Machinery Regulations requires that a notice in the form of Schedule C is posted at the pressure vessel. Employers should ensure that such a notice is present all the time so that they are legally compliant. A risk assessment should see to it that this notice is available and is the exact one stipulated in the General Machinery Regulations. Any pressured vessel with no such sign should be halted from working as it will be non-compliant.

Fuel is one of the most dangerous flammables that can cause massive damage to property and lives in a short space of time therefore, it is essential that their containers are given maximum and constant attention. Their situation and placement should be considered carefully and only authorised persons should handle them to prevent accidents.

While pressured vessels serve a vital process of carrying goods in bulk, they also need special care so that whatever they carry is in order. Do not leave it to the day that a major accident occurs before you can give the vessels the special attention they deserve.

Posted date: 21st Oct 2014
Latest News - General Health and Safety - Risk Assessment

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