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Week of 1 April 2024: The role of standards in safety

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Observing mill engineering departments for a few decades, I've noticed a haphazard application of well known nationally and internationally recognized standards in small, mill originated upgrade projects. I'll even admit that, decades ago, I likely participated in this negligence.

Standards are created for a reason. Often, these reasons are safety related. At times, they are even codified into law by reference. But whether they are codified into law or not, a great deal of time and money was invested in creating them. They exist for a reason.

Some companies produce their own on top of those produced by standards organizations. One of my entry level assignments early in my career was to produce special piping standards. I served as the secretary of a corporate wide process systems steering committee and, as secretary, memorialized the findings of this committee into internal standards across many fluid and vapor media.

As an illustration of just one area you may encounter, let's look at the various divisions of ANSI (American National Standards Institute) B31:

B31.1 Power Piping

B31.2 Fuel Gas Piping

B31.3 Process Piping

B31.4 Liquid Transportation Systems...

B31.5 Refrigeration Piping

B31.6 not published

B31.7 Nuclear Piping

B31.8 Gas Transmission and Distribution Piping

B31.9 Building Services Piping

B31.10 Cyrogenic Piping

B31.11 Slurry Piping

B31.12 Hydrogen Piping (not yet released)

And this is just piping! It is not pressure vessels (which include paper machine dryers), building structures, foundations, and on and on.

Ignoring codes can cause inefficiencies, short material longevity and human injury.

Might be time for you to review the standards procedures of your in-house engineering department.

Be safe and we will talk next week.

PS: If you are on the fence about last week's column about housekeeping and maintenance, it is never too late to get started. I am working with those who have expressed interest, on a one-on-one, pro bono basis. Just let me know if you want to get involved and I will privately work with you, too. Any time zone, any country, makes no difference to me.


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