Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Do You Work with Pipes? Here’s An Important Safety Alert For You!
Posted by David Cant on April 21, 2015
2 Comments

Do You Work with Pipes? Here’s An Important Safety Alert For You!

Risk AssessmentIf your work involves dealing with Lokring pipe connectors at all, then you should definitely be alert to the latest safety announcement that has just been made about them.

So here’s a heads up.

Recently, the HSE announced a safety bulletin about Lokring pipe connectors. Why?

Because there’s been a serious issue with chloride stress corrosion causing cracking on pipe connectors – which can have major consequences.

So what causes this – and what can you do? Let’s take a closer look.

Where would you find Lokring pipe connectors?

These are pretty widely used across a number of different industries – oil and gas, steel, medical industries – you name it.

They’re so prevalent because of Lokring’s unique patented technology, which is designed to create a seal, without needing to use rubber seals or gaskets. This is pretty great – and if you want to get into the technical nitty gritty of how they work, it’s definitely worth checking out their page.

Why the safety alert?

So if they work so great – why such a serious safety alert? That’s a good question.

The answer is – cracks have been found in some stainless steel Lokring pipe connectors. When exposed to stress and chloride – especially if you’re in marine or coastal environment – this could cause the fine cracks to corrode and expand.

You usually can’t see the cracks with the naked eye – which is why the alert has been issued generally. You might not realise there are cracks even there at all – until a dreaded failure happens!

How does chloride affect it?

It’s pretty important not to underestimate the effect chloride can have on these pipe connectors – especially if there are undetected cracks present.

There’s even a detailed report on the science of it.

The most important thing that you need to know though – is that chloride stress corrosion cracking can have quite a serious impact on pipework in chemical processing and oil and gas industries. Because of potential cracks in pipes, energy or hazardous chemicals may leak out – which could lead to a dangerous and costly total plant failure.

So what should you do?

What steps do you need to take? Given the urgency of the safety announcement – and the fact that it can be almost impossible to detect whether or not any cracks are even there, the HSE’s advice on actions is very clear.

Identify where any Lokring stainless steel pipe connectors are being used – and if they’re in a chloride containing environment. If you can answer yes to both – then they need to be removed from service, asap.

The other important thing to bear in mind is that you should prioritise those that are at highest risk first – and work your way down.

Your takeaway points

So what do you need to remember about this HSE safety alert?

– Lokring steel pipe connectors have been found to have an issue with cracks

– If you work with these – and they’re in a chloride-containing environment, you need to take them out of service quickly

– You can’t always tell if there are cracks there or not – so to be safe, follow the guidelines!

Remember, if you have any questions or worries about this safety alert – you can always give us a shout and ask!

About 

David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Competent Person Service, Construction Health and Safety, Health and Safety Consultancy, Health and Safety Services

2 Comments

  1. May 6, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks David.
    Please keep me updated regarding any work at height issue that come up and I will do likewise.
    Kind regards
    Tom Helsby
    Tech IOSH

    • June 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      of course Tom…

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