Working in Areas with Flammable Materials

When working in an area where hydrogen or other flammable materials are present, extra care should be taken to avoid damaging the existing containment and to avoid providing ignition sources. A Job Safety Analysis should be developed, reviewed, and approved prior to beginning work. Specific considerations include:

  • Conducting a hazard analysis to identify specific risks in the work area
  • Implementing a Work Permit system
  • Checking for hydrogen leaks prior to work
  • Lowering operating pressures to reduce the probability that a safety valve will operate
  • Requiring Fire Resistant Clothing (FRC) to protect workers from flash fires
  • Establishing separation distances for hot work near a hydrogen system
  • Considering the addition of fire barrier walls

To assure the system is constructed in accordance with the design, a construction completion inspection should be conducted. It includes verifying:

  • The system is properly integrated into the intended location
  • The system is constructed in accordance with the drawings and specifications
  • The safety systems and operational systems have been checked to ensure correct functioning
  • The system has been checked for mechanical integrity (piping and relief devices supported adequately, examination and leak testing completed)
  • The location has proper ventilation and ignition source control
  • A review to ensure that the hazard review recommendations have been implemented

Prior to initial operation, the use of an Operational Readiness checklist is recommended. The checklist should include:

  • Emergency response, operating and maintenance documentation is completed
    • Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is in place
    • Operating procedures are prepared
    • A maintenance plan is prepared
    • Needed spare parts are available
  • Training for emergency responders, operators, and maintenance personnel is completed
  • The system has been cleaned and air removed
Lesson Learned Reference