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There Are No Shortcuts to Safety: Always Follow the Manufacturer's Warnings

There Are No Shortcuts to Safety: Always Follow the Manufacturer's Warnings
08/08/2018

No matter how stern the warning, we are sometimes blind to the consequences. Even with a manufacturer’s warning, productivity is often of greater importance than safety. Until someone gets severely injured.

A typical petroleum distribution center uses the same hose assemblies to load all its products. When the loading process is complete, the hose is uncoupled from the pump and a cleaning plug, otherwise known as a “pig,” is inserted into one end. The end is then capped and slightly pressurized with air. The air pressure makes the “pig” travel the length of the assembly and come out the other end. This removes any residual product from the interior of the hose to prevent contamination of the next product to be loaded.

One such distribution center decided that it would use aluminum cam and groove couplings in its loading hoses. Because they are lightweight and easy to connect, it was thought that they would speed up the load-clean-load cycle. During the first “pigging” attempt, the cleaning plug got stuck at the fitting at the far end. The first course of action was to increase air pressure. After a major increase in pressure, the “pig” did exit the hose, but at a velocity that would allow it to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Another course of action was needed. It was decided to bore out the fittings to allow easier passage.

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