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Flash fire on flare system causes injury

  • What happened?

    Workers were trying to set a blind flange in an active flare line.

    Ambient oxygen was introduced and a flash fire occurred.

    The resulting heat and pressure escaped through the partly opened flange.

    A worker suffered injury when the pressure thrusted his arm upward and struck a nearby scaffold.

    The installed blind flange.
  • Why did it happen?

    Workers normalised the risk:

    • Live flare system was opened for blinding purposes.
    • Ambient air introduced to a closed system (increasing oxygen volume).
    • Fuel gas with increased oxygen then only needed an ignition source to explode within the flare system.

    Operating procedures were not followed during planning and execution.

    The scaffold structure located next to the partially opened flange.
  • What did they learn?

    Prior to blinding, understand block valve isolation and draining/pressure relieving verifications.

    Know your fire triangle and avoid introducing all three elements.

    Carefully review and understand work management permits/packages and carry out risk assessment/job hazard analysis.

    Discuss when to ‘stop work’ before starting an activity.

    A fire triangle including fuel, heat or ignition and oxygen. The elements combine to make fire and pressure wave.
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    How can something like this happen here?

    What barriers do we have in place to prevent this? What needs to be improved?

    What additional precautions need to be taken when opening flare systems?

    Think of scenarios when we should stop work when doing a similar task.  Discuss these.

    Should an emergency arise, what is your role? Who do you contact?  How?

    Ask your crew - icon
Published on 23/05/19 266 Views 2 likes

Workers were setting a blind flange in an active flare line when a flash fire occurred. The incident was caused by ambient air being introduced to a closed system (increasing oxygen volume).