Refining crude oil into gasoline, jet fuel and other petrochemical products requires constant vigilance in safety. And although the refining industry has always been focused on safety—and overall rate incidence reports have been decreasing—there are still opportunities for improvement.
According to the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the top three leading causes of Tier 1 and Tier 2 incidents between 2012 and 2016 were due to issues with piping, atmospheric tanks, and pumps.
In an article from the Refiner’s Guide to Digital Transformation and Top Quartile Performance, Emerson’s Tim Olsen shares ways for refiners to embrace new strategies and technologies that reduce their personnel’s exposure to hazardous environments and materials—and integrate more accurate, reliable, and regulatory-compliant process equipment to enhance personnel and site safety.
When it comes to personnel safety, Tim notes that for refiner’s staff members:
…who make the rounds to enable your refinery to operate smoothly, safety is everything. Even though a typical refinery spends less than 10 percent of its time in transient operation—those hours surrounding a plant shutdown or startup—it’s also the time when 20-to-30 percent of process safety incidents occur.
Ways modern technologies can help include:
…better methods of flame and gas detection in the most hard-to-reach and dangerous refinery environments, the ability to use more wireless sensing and analytics to eliminate the need for personnel to do manual data collection in dangerous areas, and more accurate, reliable methods of toxic gas detection that further keep your personnel out of harm’s way.
Process equipment failures also affect safety performance.
According to the National Response Center Database, approximately 40 percent of process safety incidents can be tied to mechanical integrity across all processing industries.
Read the article and others in the Refiner’s Guide for more on ways to drive improved performance in safety and digitally transform your refining operations.
Visit the Downstream Hydrocarbons section on Emerson.com for more on the technologies and solutions to help you drive top quartile business performance. Read here and learn the different innovations in Personnel and Process Safety. You can also connect and interact with other downstream hydrocarbon industry experts in the Refining group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.