Safety Incident Topic: Confined Space Entry
Location of Incident: Blaine, USA
Date of Incident: Unknown
Brief Account Of Incident
H2 Plant Caustic Scrubber was blinded and permitted for entry. After several hours of work in the tower by a contractor, an engineer came into the tower to take pictures. His personal LEL meter was set off. The tower entry permit was pulled. Safety checked the tower and found 100%+ of LEL at the top of the tower.
Potential for serious injury or fatality to individuals entering into the tower in an atmosphere which exceeded the LEL(lower explosive limit).
Initial investigation indicates that the full thickness blind for the top of the tower, which was located near grade, had spreaders on the tower side to allow steam and condensate during tower cleanup. The spreaders were not removed for tower entry. A small hydrogen leak was seeping past a gasket on the process side of the blind. The hydrogen educted up the line to the top of the tower.
Entry permit pulled. Leaking plug valve upstream of blind pumped with grease. Speaders on blind pulled and gaskets replaced. Tower purged with blower air. A root cause investigation has been initiated.