Important Occupational Safety In The Construction Of Chemical Plants: Extraction Of Hazardous Substances

To ensure that chemical materials can be transported and stored in the best possible way, it is of elementary importance that pipes and containers are highly leak-proof. These containers, which are used in large quantities in the chemical industry, are often assembled on site, which can produce substances that are harmful to health. Consequently, the right extraction technology is of great importance for occupational safety reasons.

The manufacture of apparatus, containers or pipelines also requires precise processing of elements made of structural steels, stainless steel and other materials. But it is precisely in these manufacturing processes that welding creates health hazards for the employees involved. 

Manfred Könning, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at Kemper, writes in the trade journal "Chemie-Technik“ that welding fumes and cutting dust consist to a large extent of so-called alveolar particles that can penetrate into the alveoli. For example, iron and aluminium oxides, nitrogen oxides, ozone or chromium compounds and nickel oxides are released during welding. Depending on their characteristics, they have a lung-damaging, toxic or, as in the case of chromium(VI) or nickel, even carcinogenic effect.

This topic also includes the clear realisation that recently lowered limit values for specific substances and alveolar dusts, new assessment criteria for carcinogenic substances and findings from occupational safety and health practice have brought the topic increasingly into focus. In order to establish an order of priority for protective measures in practice, occupational safety and health are based on the so-called 'STOP principle'. This stands for

- Substitution,

- Technical,

- Organisational Measures, and

- Personal protective equipment.

Although switching to alternative processes or materials is a priority, it is sometimes difficult or impossible to implement this in terms of feasibility and cost-effectiveness. A key role for effective occupational safety and compliance with limit values is taken by extraction equipment. Welding fumes or cutting dust should be collected as directly as possible at the point of origin and extracted away from the welder (spot extraction). Room ventilation systems, on the other hand, are not permissible as the sole protective measure and should only be used as a supplementary measure.

Mobile Extraction For Plant Construction

In addition to burner-integrated extraction, mobile extraction units that collect hazardous substances via an extraction nozzle or funnel or an extraction arm with an extraction bonnet are also suitable for chemical plant construction. The most important thing here is easy handling for the welder. Welders themselves should also equip themselves with appropriate respirators or ventilated helmets as part of their personal safety at work.

In addition to the use of extraction technology, organisational measures are becoming increasingly important. In addition to extraction technology, welding and cutting work areas should ideally be spatially separated from other operating units. This prevents hazardous substances from spreading throughout the production process in the first place. This spatial separation of processes for processing low-alloy and high-alloy steels is an effective occupational safety measure on account of the different emission classes.

Modern technical occupational safety thus includes several elements altogether: suitable point extraction through burner-integrated extraction or mobile extraction units. In addition, room ventilation systems should also be used. macos/deepLFree.translatedWithDeepL.text