Milazzo Refinery (RaM) has developed a new safety system to minimize the risks related to "hot works" (mainly explosion risks) during normal unit operations.

The good practice was for the first time utilized during Fluid Catalytic Cracking pre-turnaround and turnaround phase from Milazzo Refinery.

At that time, RaM implemented, for the first time, the integration between the existing network system of fixed hydrocarbon detectors with the welding machines through the Distributor Control System (DCS). This integration allowed to immediately switch off the power supply to the welding machines in case of detection of explosive atmosphere. Moreover, in order to cover as many welding points as possible, several mobile detectors were installed and integrated in the gas detectors system.

The whole process is represented in the scheme in Figure 1.

The main benefits of such integrated safety system were as by following:

  • Mitigation of the risks related to hot work execution during normal operations with consequent safety improvement. This also allows, during turnaround, to maximize the preturnaround activities so that its duration can be profitably reduced;

  • Increase the quality of the measure which is continuously detected and monitored by electronic devices (operator originally used to detect if the atmosphere was hydrocarbon free only before "hot work" execution.

During the pre-turnaround phase, with FCC Plant in normal operation, more than 200 tons of piping steel and more than 400 tons of steel structures were installed and welded without any incident or injury to direct personnel or contractors.

The successfully implementation of the integrated gas detectors system has become a new standard within the refinery to increase safety in the execution of "hot works " during normal unit operations, strongly mitigating the risks related to explosive atmosphere. Moreover, this system also allowed to speed up the execution of the "hot work" hence it became a RaM standard for similar process.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.