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Need for supplied air in the vicinity of man way during nitrogen purge

We have been notified of the following incident, which occurred while a catalyst change-out was being undertaken. The job was shut down for lunch, a nitrogen purge was on, the man way of the vessel was covered and there was no vacuum.

The supervising engineer of the project and a junior engineer (who had not previously been involved with the project) entered the area, proceeded up the vessel to the man way and removed the board covering the man way. The junior engineer peered in and subsequently passed out due to a lack of oxygen. He was taken to the hospital for examination and was subsequently released.

The company concerned has implemented the following actions:

  • Until further investigations are complete, anyone going up to a man way must be wearing supplied air when the nitrogen purge is in process;
  • A chain around the man way ladder must be posted, to prevent anyone from going up to the man way when project staff are on lunch or break.

Additional actions are under consideration.

Safety Event

Published: 1 November 2001
Download: IMCA SF 13/01

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