As economies, services, and facilities restart in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, WorkSafeBC is reminding employers and technical personnel to exercise caution when bringing hazardous process facilities back to life after their operations have slowed or shut down.
In a recent advisory, WorkSafeBC explains that “operations that have been curtailed or are idling may encounter unusual conditions due to slow-progressing chemical reactions, micro-organism growth, and atypical equipment corrosion/degradation, for example,” adding that these situations may create new hazards.
“According to the Center of Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), process safety incidents occur five times more often during startup than during normal operations,” the advisory states.
WorkSafeBC listed a number of example facilities that may experience this increased risk, such as oil and gas refineries and extraction sites, chemical manufacturing and storage facilities, pulp and paper mills, wood pellet facilities, power generation plants, and breweries and distilleries. Other facilities that may require special attention including those that involve large quantities of flammable, reactive, or toxic chemicals.
WorkSafeBC’s advisory outlines employer responsibilities, factors that may contribute to risk, and methods for reducing risk. The advisory also lists where readers can access additional information, including relevant sections of the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
The complete WorkSafeBC advisory is provided here.
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