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Safe Unit Egress

This article was originally written by Gary Pitman, founder of the Refining Community and Coking legend


I just got back from a refinery site visit (which will go unnamed) and I see again the same thing that I see over and over.  Egress and access pathways blocked up with debris, dunnage, hoses, insulation and barrels of trash.  Do people that work in the unit realize that it may be them who are going to have to egress through that pathway one day in case there’s an emergency?

We have a classic example of this happening during a major Coker fire where the top unheading device was open.  Flames were shooting out 300 feet.  The operators on the cutting deck could not escape.  They ran out to the stairway but it was blocked off from a bunch of maintenance debris and they had to run back through the fire. 

Whose responsibility is this?

It’s our responsibility in the unit to make sure people clean up after they do their work.  If it gets to be a buildup, we have to get it removed.  Every time I go into these plants, I see the same thing over and over and over.  So how are we going to solve this problem?  Those egress pathways are made for you.  YOU the operator, YOU the maintenance person, YOU the contractor, YOU the engineer that may be troubleshooting something.

If there’s an emergency in the refinery we have to be able to egress.

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Posted by: Gary Pitman

Refining Community