Sudden release of materials strikes and kills man unplugging pipeline

by on April 9, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Things that come unstuck sometimes come unstuck suddenly. People “in the line of fire” need to remember they are in the line of fire and prepare accordingly.

A 52-year-old oil pipeline worker was killed in the Alberta, Canada, oil fields. He worked for Conoco Philips. He suffered fatal head injuries while worker on the exit point of a pipeline. In pipeline worker, the process of reaming out a pipe is called pigging. Equipment called a pig is placed inside the pipe, and crawls inside it, scraping off hydrates (crystallized materials) that have built up inside the pipe.

A plug of hydrates developed, and suddenly gave way. The worker was struck by both the plug and the pig. He was airlifted to University of Alberta hospital , where he died. The workers’ name was not released.

Take-home: “Line of fire” training is essential. Supervisors should train workers to identify when they are in the line of fire during the work shifts, and then follow up through reminders. Safety directors have found follow-up questioning helps improve worker awareness of when they are in the line of fire if something goes wrong.

Source: Journal of Commerce

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