High-Pressure Valve Dangers on the Job

High pressure valve

Industrial workers face significant hazards on the job, making their day-to-day work dangerous. Industrial jobs typically involve more manual labor, working with many types of machinery including heavy machinery and working outdoors.

Safety is a priority in these work environments; however, even when employees follow safety rules, accidents occur. One such industrial accident involves the failure of high-pressure valves.

What is a high-pressure valve?

According to OSHA, “a pressure vessel is a storage tank or vessel that has been designed to operate at pressures above 15 p.s.i.g.”

High pressure valve gas industryHigh-pressure valves regulate the flow of gases, liquids or other loose materials by opening or closing ports or passageways and are used in many industries, such as:

  • Processing of pulp and paper
  • Petroleum refining
  • Petrochemical industries
  • Water treatment systems of boilers and steam generation equipment
  • Pressurized equipment at natural gas drilling sites
  • Compressed gas and equipment
  • Construction
  • And many others

There are two types of pressure relief systems:

  • Pressure valves, which are key components within industries such as plumbing, construction, engineering and hydraulics.
  • Rupture disks, which are non-reclosing pressure relief devices that protect a pressure vessel from over-pressurization.

What are the hazards of high-pressure valves on the job?

The OSHA site went on to say, “inspections of pressure vessels have shown that there are a considerable number of cracked and damaged vessels in workplaces. Cracked and damaged vessels can result in leakage or rupture failures.”

Potential health and safety hazards of leaking vessels include:

  • Poisonings
  • Suffocations
  • Fires
  • Explosion hazards

Potential health and safety hazards of rupture failures are typically more catastrophic, such as the one that occurred at Garmin Industries where a contractor was killed when a high-pressure valve ruptured.

“The safe design, installation, operation and maintenance of pressure vessels in accordance with the appropriate codes and standards are essential to worker safety and health.”

Workman’s Comp or Personal Injury Claim?

When workers are injured on the job, workman’s compensation is typically tapped to cover an employee’s medical expenses and lost income if they cannot return to work immediately. Should the accident be fatal, the surviving family members can typically file death benefit claims.

However, if the accident is caused by some form of negligence, then it may become a personal injury claim. Negligence may be due to factors such as:

  • Premature failure of a pressure relief device
  • Unreliable technology
  • Internal pressure exceeding its MAWP (maximum allowable operating pressure)
  • Improperly maintained equipment
  • Improper selection or sizing
  • Compromised structural properties
  • Poorly fitted or improperly installed temperature and pressure relief valve

In the case of negligence, the manufacturer of the equipment, the installer or the party responsible for maintenance, among others, may be liable.

In addition, many job sites have numerous different companies and contractors all working on different aspects of the job. This increases the risk of accidents and serious injuries occurring and the potential for third party liability.

Questions? Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.

Legal Experience with Industrial Accidents

When you need a personal injury attorney with experience representing clients injured in industrial accidents, such as the one that occurred at Garmin Industries, turn to the attorneys at Nash & Franciskato.

We obtained a $220,000 settlement for a client who was injured when a valve mechanism and safety cap on an irrigation system exploded seriously injuring him. It was determined that the safety cap was defective because it lacked safety chains and had inadequate warnings.

If you’ve been seriously injured in an industrial accident, contact us for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

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