ENVIRONMENT

Control of high pressure fluid incidents should start at the design stage

FLUID power control systems should be designed to prevent unintended movement and incorrect sequencing of actuators over the lifecycle of the plant to help prevent injury from the uncontrolled release of fluids, a key regulator believes.

 The uncontrolled release of fluids has resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.

The uncontrolled release of fluids has resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.

Resource Safety and Health Queensland's latest standard on Fluid Power Safety in Coal Mines states consideration should be given to possible control system failure modes.

"The uncontrolled release of fluids has resulted in serious injuries and fatalities in the coal industry," it states.

"Adjustable control valves should be fitted with a tamper-resistant device or require tools where the adjustment of controls may create a hazard.

"Clear indication of the fluid system's operational status should be provided, for example pressure indication using a gauge.

"Hydraulic and pneumatic control systems should cause the machine to fail to a safe state in the event of any fluid system failure or electrical power loss."

RSHQ said fires on fixed and mobile plant resulting from the unplanned loss of fluid could expose coal mine workers to unacceptable level of risk whether they be operating the plant or fighting the fire.

"Mines must complete a fire risk assessment on all plant and implement risk reduction controls to reduce the risk to an acceptable level," it states.

"Where an unplanned loss of fluid could cause a fire hazard, the fluid power systems should be designed to shut down automatically upon release of fluid, where practicable.

"Consideration is to be given to segregation where component failure my inadvertently spray fluid onto an ignition source in the immediate area."

RSHQ said a means should be provided to prevent or control unintended pressure intensification on all fluid power systems in particular all hydraulic cylinders should be protected.

"This may be achieved through the appropriate installation of unloader valves, relief valves and burst discs," it stated.

"The vent port from these devices should be positioned or safeguarded to avoid injury to people in the vicinity of the fluid being ejected."

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