Safeguarding hose: How much whip can a whipcheck check?

Across heavy industry, high pressure hoses are used for containing a variety of different substances in the form of liquefied gases and compressed air. However, as BSC’s Michael Rowe explains, “Measuring the potential risk of an on-site injury occurring from a high-pressure hose is mainly a matter of measuring the frequency of their usage — which is high.” “To put it bluntly, a quick change in pressure behind a flexible hose application can be life-threatening,” cautions Michael. “If a pressurized hose experiences a sudden spike or release in pressure, the hose can whip or flail around in similarly unpredictable movements at very high speeds. This creates an extremely dangerous situation that is hard to contain.” Michael notes that the point of connection where two hoses are joined or there is a valve backed by compressed air are the key areas that require secure safeguarding. “If a worker runs the air pressure where there are hoses connected, and the hose comes apart, that is when there is the potential for the hose to whip,” he emphasises. “The air pressure on these hoses peaks at around 90-100 pounds per square inch which is the amount of force that pressure is containing. Subsequently, unguarded hose connections can do significant damage to personnel nearby or the structural integrity of its surroundings.” Following several injuries and fatalities where the cause was determined to be a malfunctioning pressure hose, the Australian federal government published a safety alert on July 1, 2020, reminding employers of the importance of installing a safety whipcheck on pressurized air hoses, in order to safeguard employees from the dangerous threat of hose whip.1 To visualise how a whipcheck mechanism fits together, Michael describes that a typical whipcheck features spring-loaded loops in the cable ends that are easily opened to pass over the couplings, providing a firm grip on the hose. “The claw coupling will be around 50mm in diameter, relatively to the hose which would be around 20mm thick.” Digging a little deeper into the issue, Michael discusses the mechanics behind a whipcheck and why it is critical to site safety to ensure that all pressurized air hose equipment is safeguarded. He also makes some production and installation suggestions to get started with safeguarding hoses, referring to knowledge he obtained through one of BSC’s suppliers, Dixon, a well-known manufacturer of hose coupling and retention devices for safeguarding these types of applications.
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Environmentally sensitive spill solutions

A chemical spill requires an adequate and appropriate response in order to protect sensitive environments and prevent pollution from spreading to nearby water and air sources. Developing an effective emergency spill response plan is an essential Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) requirement for mine site operators, particularly those who are handling mobile equipment, according to Steve Keown. “Whether its fuel, lubricants, or coolant, mobile equipment has the potential to spring a leak while out in the field, and an incidental chemical spill that occurs while working remotely can pose a significant OHS risk if a large spill occurs and workers are underprepared,” says the BSC National Product Manager. As for the gravity of the damage a spill can cause, that depends largely on how effectively the spill is managed by on-site personnel, Steve cautions. “It will not suffice for site managers to hope for the best on these applications, it is essential that they prepare for the worst-case scenario.” In Australia, the Environment Protection Act 20171 (EP Act) and Environment Protection Regulations 2021 (EP Regulations) now require all businesses to take proactive steps in managing the risks of spillage.1 According to Steve, there are few companies who have invested as much into aligning with regulations and preparing for worst-case scenarios as ENPAC, an American company that was founded on one simple principle: “To protect the environment from hazardous chemicals by providing customers with high quality, affordable containment solutions.” “ENPAC spill containment products have been used by the United States military and government organisations for decades, only recently being introduced into a more commercial market,” says Steve. “The team at BSC has been working closely with ENPAC Australia to offer our customers the most appropriate solution for spill containment — taking into consideration potential spill volumes, various types of liquids and how to account for the surrounding terrain,” he explains. “Readying mobile spill bunding kits on site is the most effective way to provide workers with a quick way of containing an unexpected leak, curbing run off from the spill, and minimising clean-up costs.” The range of flexible bunding solutions ENPAC manufactures are ideal for emergency mobile spill containment and can be conveniently stored and carried by mobile operators, to be placed quickly under equipment in the event of an equipment failure or a leak. “For larger leaks, sites can ready a mobile maintenance equipment setup with ‘drive in, drive out’ capability,” explains Steve. “In this instance, the leaking equipment can be driven or towed onto the spill bunding and enclosed to prevent the spill from breaching the surroundings.” Amongst ENPAC’s spill containment offerings are stinger snap up berms that can contain up to 33,000 litres of liquid; drip pillows; drip dams; leak divertors; and portable prowler pools that can contain spills of up to 560 litres. “The spill containment berms and duck ponds are great portable spill containment solutions for mobile equipment,” says Steve. “Not only will taking heed on these preventative measures benefit the health of workers and the environment, but it will also save valuable time and resources.” “Developing an appropriate mobile spill prevention plan could be as simple as an off the shelf product, or it could mean a day out on the mine site for one of our team,” concludes Steve. “We work with our Enpac Account Manager to assess the points of concern, drains, creeks, or particularly dangerous product on site. We want to ensure that we are offering the safest and most effective spill solutions to our customers.” Reference: Environment Protection Authority Victoria, 1823.1: Mining and quarrying – guide to preventing harm to people and the environment https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/publications/1823-1 Read More