In the News
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released the annual injury and ill-health statistics for Great Britain for the year 2018/19. In summary:4 million working people suffering from a work-related illness 2,526 mesothelioma deaths due to past asbestos exposures (2017) 147 workers killed at work (2018/19) 581,000 injuries occurred at work according to the Labour Force Survey 69,208 injuries to employees reported under RIDDOR 2 million working days lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury
HSE commented that there have been no significant changes to industries in which there is a higher risk of sustaining an injury while at work.
HSE has published the second edition Guidance Book L140, Hand-arm vibration. The new edition has been updated in keeping with changes to related legislation, technical advances and experience. The emphasis is on the control and management of risks from exposure to hand-arm vibration (HAV). HSE has also made updates to the hand-arm vibration (HAV) exposure calculator.
HSE has issued a safety notice to remind operators about condensate induced water hammer, and their responsibilities in terms of the maintenance and operation of steam systems. Three people were injured following a release of steam on a nuclear site. Investigations are ongoing, but early indications suggest a failure in the pressure boundary of the steam system, potentially caused by a water hammer event.
Water hammer is a known vulnerability in steam systems, and is sometimes referred to as ‘Condensate Induced Water Hammer’. It most commonly occurs when steam is introduced into cold pipe-work that has not been sufficiently drained. As the steam cools, it turns into condensate which takes up less volume in the pipework than the steam. This produces a vacuum or pocket into which the water rapidly flows, creating an impact against the pipework.
Operators should remind themselves about this phenomenon in steam systems and ensure suitable measures are taken to prevent the occurrence of such events, including the appropriate operation and maintenance of such systems on their sites. HSE recommend that the five-point action plan detailed in the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed) factsheet; “potential hazards created by water hammer in steam systems” is considered.