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Safety Focus - Are Your Plant Operations Prepared for Winter Weather?< Back to Blog

Nov 04, 2021
By: K. McCarley
Categories: Safety

Safety Focus



Cold and freezing conditions are a concern as winter approaches, and time is running short to prepare. As discussed in the CSB Winterization Safety Message below, hazards during cold weather should be always be considered during process hazard analyses, management of change exercises and pre-startup safety reviews. In this video, two case studies are shared highlighting the risk potential for cold weather process hazards, including a few examples of where hydrate formation and freezing liquid in a dead leg resulted in significant incidents.

 CSB Winterization Safety Message
FRI regularly makes improvements in winterization and cold weather shutdown procedures because the experimental unit is shut down often during weekends and revamps.  However, the historically long freezing weather event experienced in February 2021 still resulted in equipment damage. As discussed during the May 2021 TAC Meeting, the line circulating water to the High Pressure (HP) condenser froze even though water was circulating at the specified rate and the heat tracing was operational. The result was not as bad as it could have been, but water accumulated in the HP condenser and froze damaging the gasket and bolts on the head, as shown in the Figure.
Maintenance and inspection of heat tracing systems and components also play an important role in maintaining safe, reliable, and cost-efficient operations during cold weather. The article below provides guidance regarding the hazards, safeguards and inspections to consider. It should also be pointed out that problems with heat tape and steam tracing used for winterization may not be obvious until freezing conditions occur.
Time to prepare for winter