What Are The Most Serious Hazards In Pressure Vessels?

Hazards In Pressure Vessels

A pressure vessel is an air-tight container mostly used in petrochemical and refinery plants to process fluids or hold or carry gases or liquids. They are commonly exposed to pressure loading along with external or internal operating pressure which is different from “ambient pressure”. 

Pressure vessels also store energy in high amounts. The larger the vessel and the higher the operating pressure is, the more energy will release if a rupture occurs. As a result, this increases the extent of disaster, damage, or danger that it poses. For this reason, there should not be any complacency involved when it comes to these risks. 

If you want to learn more about the serious hazards in pressure vessels, keep reading today’s blog article as we discuss this in more detail.

What Causes Pressure Vessel Failure?

If a pressure vessel fails, this can lead to several serious hazards. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of the causes of pressure vessels. The primary causes of pressure vessel failure include the following:

  • Poor maintenance or operator errors
  • Faulty design
  • Operating the vessel above the maximum allowable working pressure
  • Over temperature
  • Improper installation
  • Cracking
  • Corrosion
  • Material defects
  • Welding problems
  • Low-water condition
  • Burner failure
  • Over pressurisation
  • Fabrication error
  • Unsafe alteration or modifications
  • Not sticking to a regular inspection schedule

Hazard Awareness In Pressure Vessels

The potential hazards linked with pressure vessel failure when not properly constructed, designed, operated, tested, repaired, or inspected include:

  • Fragmentation damage
  • Blast effects
  • Poisoning
  • Suffocation
  • Chemical burns
  • Fire explosion
  • Loss of property and lives
  • Thermal burns
  • Loss of income/earning
  • Permanent disabilities or injuries on the affected people

One of the most serious hazards is when pressure vessels have not been modified, welded, or installed properly, or if the pressure vessels are lacking an effective pressure relief system. Even liquids and gases classified as non-dangerous can become dangerous in any accidents that involve high-pressure equipment. 

Why Should You Register Your Pressure Vessel Design?

If your pressure vessel falls under hazard levels A, B, C, or D, the design must be registered or else you could be liable for fines. 

The process involved in pressure vessel design registration and verification includes comparing the vessel design to the design requirements of nominated international standards, according to the stated operating and design conditions. These processes are in place to make sure the design is fully compliant and to ensure the equipment includes enough structural integrity for all in-service conditions in the way of matching requirements set out by the relevant standards. 

Precautionary Measures To Avoid Pressure Vessel Hazards

Catastrophic disasters that are caused by accidents involving pressure vessels can be almost completely prevented by:

  • Making sure the pressure vessel is designed, fabricated, and constructed so that it complies with applicable standards and codes with the assistance of a company like Sherwood Design & Engineering.
  • Making sure the vessel operates at a pressure that is under the “maximum allowable working pressure” with the correct pressure setting for the relief devices, to deal with temperatures and design pressures. 
  • Periodically inspecting and testing the pressure vessel and relief devices to detect erosion or corrosion that could lead to leaks, cracks, holes, or any other defect. 
  • Removing the safety-relief valves during a safety inspection to ensure the settings are accurate. 
  • Maintaining inspection report records and monitoring any potential issues to ensure the vessel is removed from service well before it has a chance to become hazardous. 
  • Ensuring that repairs or alterations are only carried out by authorised and competent professionals and that the repairs match the acceptable industry-quality standards relating to pressure vessel repair. 
  • Providing employees with safety training on anticipated conditions and job hazards that could risk their safety or the safety of others. 

Final Thoughts

Accidents involving pressure vessels cannot be avoided fully, but companies can work on reducing the risks significantly and the probability of these accidents occurring. Sherwood Design & Engineering offers a range of pressure vessel services including design, engineering, verification, and registration. At Sherwood Design & Engineering, we are here to help our clients with all their pressure vessel needs.

If you are looking for trustworthy and reliable pressure vessel engineering design and support services, please call us today on (02) 9437 3566 or leave an enquiry.