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ABS Consulting Exhibits at 18th Annual SMRP Conference

ABS Consulting will exhibit at the 18th Annual Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals conference on October 18-21, 2010, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at booth number 331. This year's theme, Driven by Performance, Powered by Professionals, promises an energized agenda with broadened core educational offerings.

Learn more about the event.

CSB Board Member Mark Griffon Calls on American Society of Mechanical Engineers to Adopt CSB Recommendation Prohibiting Natural Gas Blows at Power Plants

U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) member Mark Griffon has called on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to adopt a CSB recommendation calling for natural gas blows to be prohibited during power plant construction.

The recommendation was one of 18 urgent recommendations issued in June 2010 following a CSB investigation into a powerful natural gas explosion that killed 6 workers and injured dozens of others at the Kleen Energy plant in Middletown, Connecticut, on February 7, 2010, which was under construction. Workers used hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of natural gas to clean debris from gas pipes used to fuel electricity-producing turbines. The gas accumulated in and around the buildings, was ignited by an unknown ignition source, and exploded.

Speaking to a meeting of ASME members in Phoenix who are considering changes to the ASME Code for Pressure Piping Systems, Mr. Griffon said, "The CSB believes that using natural gas or other flammable gases to clean fuel gas piping is inherently unsafe and should be prohibited." He cited other accidents to show that explosions resulting from flammable gas blows have the potential to cause death, serious injuries, and costly property damage.

Mr. Griffon noted that the practice of using gas blows, or forcing large volumes of flammable gas through piping to clear out debris, was common in construction of electric generating facilities. The CSB investigation of Kleen Energy, resulting in 18 urgent recommendations, states "From a fire and explosion perspective, releasing large volumes of natural gas in the vicinity of workers or ignition sources is inherently unsafe."

In remarks prepared for the ASME, which is considering the CSB recommendation to prohibit gas blows and use inherently safer methodologies to clean piping, board member Griffon said, "It has been argued that the gas blow at Kleen Energy was not conducted properly to ensure the dispersion of the released natural gas and to prevent the gas from encountering ignition sources. This point overlooks the simple fact that cleaning piping with flammable gases presents an inherent explosion hazard. Cleaning piping with flammable gases presents an explosion hazard that cannot be wholly eliminated."

Even if every effort is made to eliminate ignition sources, such as welding, or electrical equipment not rated for a hazardous environment, he noted, the friction of the gas flowing through the piping can cause an accumulation of static electricity and cause ignition; in addition, sparks from impacts of metal debris striking surfaces when the gas exits the piping can also ignite the gas.

Mr. Griffon noted that the CSB investigation found ample alternatives to gas blows that are safer. These methods include blowing air or nitrogen through piping, or "pigging," in which a cleaning device is propelled through the pipe using air.

Board member Griffon noted that some in industry have already eliminated gas blows. He said that a representative of General Electric (GE), a major gas turbine manufacturer, stated at the CSB public meeting in June that his company greatly discourages gas blows and did not know of any situation where using gas to clean pipes was necessary. The company official said that GE wants to "make gas blows something that will not happen again under GE's watch." GE also expressly prohibits its own employees from being on site if one of its customers chooses to conduct a blow with natural gas.

Since the public meeting, several other major turbine manufacturers also have reported to the CSB that they already have, or intend to soon develop, guidance that strongly advises their clients to avoid the practice of natural gas blows.

The CSB has also made recommendations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to promulgate a standard that prohibits gas blows to the atmosphere for the purpose of cleaning fuel gas piping, and to the National Fire Protection Association to similarly modify its standards.

For more information, visit www.csb.gov.


2010 Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium

2010 Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium
October 26-28, 2010
College Station, TX

Steve Arendt, Vice President, U.S. Process Industries, will discuss Improving Process Safety Regulations – Industry Suggestions. Topics include compliance and enforcement strategies, ways to make requirements more economical without sacrificing safety, and systematic ways to address RAGAGEP.

Arendt, San Burnett, Rick Curtis, Ken Hanchey, and Dr. Herzl Marouni will present "Practical Steps to Improve Process Safety Culture – Case Studies and Lessons from the Process Industry." In this session, the team will present examples, results, lessons learned, and remedies for typical culture weaknesses that led to persistent performance issues at 20 companies.


TSCA and Its International Counterparts
November 9-10, 2010 - McKenna Long & Aldridge law offices - Washington, DC

Take an in-depth look at the TSCA laws and regulations that govern the manufacture, importation, distribution, and use of chemicals in the U.S., including Premanufacture Notification, Significant New Use Rules, Section 8(e) reporting, and the Inventory Update Rule. Also review how chemicals are regulated in the European Union and other countries in North America and Asia.

Mechanical Integrity
November 10-11, 2010 - ABS Consulting - Knoxville, TN

Learn how to develop, implement, and maintain an efficient program for mechanical integrity. Gain a thorough understanding of the OSHA and EPA requirements for such a program and see how to define roles and assign responsibilities in the program. Practice developing an inspection and test plan. Also build a quality assurance plan and learn how to develop maintenance procedures and training based on these plans. Combine with Understanding Codes and Standard and save!



ClassPass™ Discount Coupons

Great savings and flexibility for you and your company. Savings of up to 57% per day on any ABS Consulting public training course – one coupon per day (or partial day) per person. Passes may be used by anyone in the company. A 20-day Gold package is now only $5000 (a savings of over 35% off the former price), and a 50-day Platinum package is now only $11,500 (a savings of over 36% off the former price). Click here for details.

Upcoming Courses: October 2010 - November 2010

*Take two or more courses during the same week to SAVE! Combination options are highlighted. View the course calendar for a complete list of courses.


Environmental Compliance Bootcamp
November 8-12 - San Antonio, TX

TSCA and Its International Counterparts
November 9-10 - Washington, DC



Root Cause Analysis and Incident Investigation
October 18-20 - Arlington, VA

Process Safety Management Compliance
November 1-3 - Houston, TX

Compliance Auditing
November 4-5 - Houston, TX

Layer of Protenction Analysis
November 8-9 - Houston, TX

Safety Integrity Level
November 10-11 - Houston, TX

Understanding Codes and Standards
November 8-9 - Knoxville, TN

Mechanical Integrity
November 10-11 - Knoxville, TN

Risk Based Process Safety
November 15-16 - Houston, TX

Facility Siting Hazard Analysis Techniques
November 17-19 - San Antonio, TX



ISO 9001 Internal Auditor
November 15-17 - Houston, TX



ISO 28000 Internal Auditor
October 18-20 - Houston, TX

ISO 28000 Lead Auditor**
October 18-21 - Houston, TX



ISO 9001, QMS - Lead Auditor**
November 1-4 - Houston, TX

ISPS Code Internal Officer**
November 2-3 - Houston, TX

Prevention & Mitigation of Human Error in Marine Operations**
November 4-5 - Houston, TX

ISM Code, Lead Internal Auditor**
November 9-11 - Houston, TX

Integrated Internal Auditor ISO, OHSAS**
November 16-17 - Houston, TX

Internal Audit and Non-Conformity Report Writing **
November 19 - Houston, TX

We're sure you'll be satisfied with the content of our courses. If you're not, tell us why in a brief letter, and we will credit your investment toward another course.
**No training discounts apply.

For more information...

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