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Important Reminders and Safety Tips for Tank Cleaning

Tank cleaning can be a very hazardous business when not done properly. Working around storage tanks alone could pose several safety risks, so moving around or inside tanks for cleaning can be even more dangerous. It’s precisely why OSHA has certain regulations regarding storage tank cleaning.

OSHA requires that personnel working around the tanks for cleaning be given the proper training to know their way around the tank. Furthermore, they can’t simply proceed to clean the tank — a careful preplanning process is also required, determining who is assigned to do what, the purpose of each action, and most importantly, what to do in emergencies.

Beyond the OSHA regulations, here are also some critical reminders about tank cleaning:

Always wear appropriate clothing

It must be a requirement for all personnel cleaning the tank to be wearing the appropriate PPE. PPEs come in a variety of forms and levels of protection. Plant supervisors must ensure that the personnel is provided the right level of protection depending on what the tank contains and the work that needs to be done. For example, workers may need respiratory protection and full body suits if fumes are involved.

Always have a fire extinguisher or a fire protection protocol in place

OSHA reminds everyone that preparing for the worst is essential in ensuring that any untoward incident is addressed as soon as possible. Many materials stored in tanks are flammable, so it’s crucial to have a fire extinguisher or other similar options during tank cleaning. It’s even more critical to have these on hand when cleaning fuel tanks.

Double or triple-check all settings

It’s not enough to clean the tank — it’s also crucial to check all its settings and connected pipes. Check for pressure, heat levels, oxygen saturation, amount of material contained, and other process-essential settings. Before any cleaning, the tank should be in a state that is safe for personnel to approach and do their work, with no risk of machines starting up or material moving.

Tank cleaning is not just a maintenance job; it’s a major responsibility that requires an entire team to handle and manage. Schedule your tank cleaning regularly and ensure the safety of the entire plant.

Regular maintenance of storage tanks and their adjoining machinery ensures the smooth operation of the entire plant. Visit us today for more tips on keeping your plant running in top shape.

 

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KC Supply on Why Tank Safety Matters

Tank safety should always be on your mind, whether working around, on, or inside industrial tanks. Industrial storage tanks for fuel, fluid, or material can pose unique hazards for all personnel around them.

Keep these safety concepts in mind:

Always make sure you have the correct type of tank for the suitable material

Remember that not all tanks are made the same. Some industrial tanks are specially designed to hold corrosive fluids better than others, while others are only used for processing and not long-term storage. Tank safety must use the appropriate type of tank for its holding. It would otherwise risk the tank’s structural integrity and storage ability, resulting in leaks or damage that could be catastrophic.

Clean the tanks before anything goes into them

Tank cleaning before material changeovers or maintenance purposes helps ensure tank safety by removing any accumulated material or stale product and dramatically reduces the risk of contaminants inside or outside the tank. Cleaning tanks before pouring into them also ensures no residue leftover from the previous use. Ensure that the procedures in the plant include regularly scheduled shutdowns for cleaning.

Eliminate fire hazards

One of the most significant risks to tank safety is flammable materials. Ensure that all personnel are well informed of the fire hazard area around the tank and install proper flame and detonation arresters. Eliminate all sources of ignition, if possible, from both the tank and the piping connected to it. You also must consider flammable material inside the tank, so you must carefully install protectors against flammable vapors.

Require PPE always

All personnel working in or around the tanks must be in PPE. Depending on what the tanks contain, the appropriate suits for personnel could mean the difference between life and death in the event of an accident. PPEs can also significantly reduce long-term health problems from exposure to the tanks’ toxic material.

Put tank safety first above everything. Through these reminders, protect the tanks, your plant, and your personnel from untoward incidents and formulate an airtight safety plan.

KC Supply Co prioritizes the health and safety of all personnel working around industrial tanks. Visit us today to find safety equipment and more.

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How to Winterize Conveyor Belts

Even conveyor belts are affected by low temperatures in winter. Temperatures that go below 20 degrees Fahrenheit can cause belts to harden. And when belts are set, they could wear down and cause backsliding. Moreover, depending on the material of the belt, they could become brittle, putting a risk to your processes. It’s precarious for belts that have become highly worn with age, weathered with use, or even belts positioned at odd angles, making some areas more stretched.

Here are ways to winter-proof your conveyor belts and keep them running smoothly throughout the winter.

Keep it warm.
Keeping the belts warm inside a heavy plant full of conveyor belts is easier. With adequate space heating or warming inside an enclosed space, belts can retain the proper temperature for optimal performance. However, belts dealing with outdoor environments may need alternative solutions, such as blowing warm air or installing electric heating on the belts.

Use anti-icing agents.
Consider if you can use anti-icing products or antifreeze products on your conveyor belts. Of course, this will depend on the type of material coming into contact with the belt itself. If you conclude that there is no risk to your product or material on the belt through these agents, you’re well advised to use them to prevent machinery from getting stuck in the cold.

Change the load.
Consider changing what is on the belts entirely. If you typically use the conveyor belt for wet materials or matter that easily clogs up, consider shifting the belts for use on different products and materials instead. Make it easier for your belts to do the work, and resume their usage on other materials once the temperatures aren’t so cold.

Defend against wear and tear.
Some special additives and agents can also be applied on rubber conveyor belts to withstand the elements and abrasive wear. This ensures that even if the low temperatures cause some hardening, the wear and abrasion on the belts won’t become so significant that it exacerbates the winter damage.

Since the belts keep products and materials moving, ensure to protect them in the best way possible this winter. It’s the lifeline that keeps production going.

KC Supply Co believes in winterizing all kinds of equipment to ensure the safety of everyone in the industrial workplace. Visit us today to find safety solutions of all varieties.

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KC Supply Co Explains How to Protect Equipment from Cold Weather

Protecting equipment, especially industrial machinery, during cold weather isn’t just part of good maintenance—it’s part of ensuring that the entire workplace adheres to strict safety protocols. Processes must always be put in place to handle a variety of cold weather scenarios.

For example, drainage systems or those that handle the flow of water must be protected against the cold, or there is a chance they could burst mid-winter. This could cost a company up to millions of dollars in damage.

Here are ways to protect equipment from the risks of cold weather:

  • Insulate and protect your piping first. The pipes will be among those most at risk for weather changes, and often they are part of the most crucial systems, including maintaining heat through the cold weather. Ensure that freeze protection valves are in place, pipes are insulated, and heat tracing systems are enabled.
  • Inspect and protect all vehicles. If your company has a fleet of vehicles that will continue working during the cold weather, it’s also essential to protect them. Do a vehicle inspection and maintain the undercarriage, clearing any mud, snow, or debris. When you protect equipment, you must ensure everything is in working order, from its fluids down to the tires.
  • Install and maintain space heaters. At no point should the temperatures within your facility go below safe levels. Install enough space heaters to heat large areas and verify they are all in working order. If these heaters run on gas, make sure you also have sufficient fuel for them to run.
  • Inspect your tools. It’s not just big machinery that needs protection. Compressors, pneumatic tools, power tools, and other similar items also need protection. Equipment like these must be correctly lubricated with tool oil and kept in areas away from the cold. Remember that if your power tools run on batteries, you could compromise battery performance when left out in the cold.

By ensuring that all kinds of equipment in your work area are adequately protected against the cold, you can expect safe and smooth performance and productivity even during the winter.

KC Supply Co takes equipment protection seriously. Visit us to look for protective equipment, supplies, and other great tips on keeping your industrial area in working order.

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KC Supply Gives Critical Reminders on the Hazards of Manure Pits

Last year, three men in Ohio died after entering a manure pit. Even cattle aren’t immune, as a farm hand and six cattle perished at their manure pit in Wisconsin back in 2016.

Manure pits are crucial to everyday farm operations. They generate much-needed fertilizer and material needed for farmers to prepare their lands for the spring planting season, helping crops grow and thrive. However, despite its boons, manure pit is dangerous for the noxious gases they emit.

Dangerous Gases

Manure being processed in the pit goes through anaerobic digestive fermentation to become usable fertilizer. However, during this process, it starts to release and accumulate numerous toxic gases.

  • Methane – An odorless and flammable gas. The danger begins in concentrations of 15 to 30%. In this level of concentration, methane can displace oxygen. Personnel working in the manure pit may not even realize that they are being suffocated before it’s too late.
  • Hydrogen Sulfide – This gas has a characteristic “rotten egg” odor which can alert farm hands of danger, but this usually happens in low concentrations. High concentrations can lead to their sense of smell becoming paralyzed. This gas is also heavier than air, often settling around the bottom of the pit. Anyone working low on the manure pit may become suffocated.
  • Carbon Dioxide – While it’s a common gas in our atmosphere, high concentrations can also cause suffocation, leading to a distinct “cherry red” appearance in people who have been exposed to too much of it. It can lead to drowsiness, headaches, and nausea.
  • Ammonia – The sharp odor of ammonia will make it familiar to anyone who has done cleaning around the home. But the concentrated ammonia levels in a manure pit can lead to eye and nose irritation and may damage the lungs.

Not only are all these gases dangerous upon human inhalation, but in a confined space, the combination of gases can become explosive. Therefore, beyond just ensuring that all farm personnel working in and around the pit are wearing protective respiratory equipment, it’s also crucial to ensure that no flammable or incendiary items are anywhere near the pit to prevent an explosion.

KC Supply supports ensuring the safety and protection of all workers in the farming industry. Contact us today to learn about our full range of safety equipment and gear.

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KC Supply Co Answers Commonly Asked Questions on Grain Engulfment and Entrapment

To this day, grain engulfment and grain entrapment remain among the most significant dangers for workers on an industrial or farm area. Grain entrapment has become such a problem that dozens of farms and industrial workers die or are severely injured every year through improper handling or labor through grain silos and grain bins. 

Government entities as well as safety and law enforcement personnel do their best yearly to remind companies and organizations about grain bin safety and provide refresher courses on how to proceed safely when working in or around the grain bins. Here are some of these reminders:

Who are the most at-risk or susceptible to grain engulfment or entrapment?

Approximately 75% of all documented victims of entrapment or engulfment are farm workers, employees, and family members. It’s crucial to remember that anyone working or even near the grain bins are putting themselves at risk for entrapment regardless of whether or not they are wearing PPEs and safety equipment.

What type of grain can cause entrapment?

Some people may assume that it’s only the most dangerous at finer grains or milled products which have smaller particles and therefore can act more like quicksand. On the contrary—grain engulfment and entrapment can happen with anything that is filling the silo. A wide variety of grains have been documented to cause entrapment: flax, canola, soybeans, corn, and more. However, it is worth noting that corn is especially dangerous at 50% of all documented cases.

When is it most dangerous in the silo?

When the grain is flowing, so is danger. Perhaps a worker is inside trying to clear blockages or pipes; perhaps the grain is flowing into the silo. Moving grain is immediately one of the most dangerous instances when working around the silo. Even unloading grain is hazardous. Remember to never let anyone work inside the grain bin when grain is actively flowing.

The best way to prevent disaster is through prevention. Create a strict grain bin safety plan that is drilled into everyone working around the grain bin. Prepare safety equipment such as grain bin safety tubes. And most importantly, have everyone be aware of exactly what to do if and when disaster strikes.

KC Supply takes grain bin safety as the utmost priority in protecting workers, providing a range of safety equipment. Contact us today to learn more.

 

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