Hydrostatic testing of fire sprinkler suppression systems

Background

A tester for a fire protection company sustained serious injuries when the testing equipment he was using became dislodged and flailed about under pressure striking him numerous times leaving him with a broken jaw, wrist and collarbone. On investigation it was identified that the testing equipment used was only pressure rated for a maximum pressure of 1000 Kpa and had been connected to a system with a much higher working pressure. The worker was not aware this equipment was rated to a maximum 1000 Kpa. 

Hazard

Testing equipment under pressure has the potential to fail.

Risk

Workers are exposed to the risk of the equipment blowing off and hitting the worker or others nearby.

Risk control measures

Workers need to know the maximum working pressure of testing equipment and the systems they connect to. This can be achieved by:

  • Employers should perform a risk assessment on this task and formulate with consultation, a safe work method statement or safe operating procedure.
  • Workers must have all relevant information such as the specifications of the system and the testing equipment to be used.
  • All workers should be tool-boxed or inducted into the safe use of this equipment.
  • All pressure ratings or limitations need to be clearly identified and explained to operators.
  • Suitable means of anchoring or securing the testing equipment is to be developed and conveyed to workers.

 

See also WSV publications; 'A Health and Safety Solution'-Preventing explosions when testing pipelines, www.worksafe.vic.gov.au and Hazard Alert ‘Pressure testing of pipe-work.’ 

Chris Giblin V2 2016

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