Thanks for the thorough email, Nick. I should probably comment on your implication that this lab might blindly jump to over-controlled solutions without regard to justification. Excellent point. We considered many options but I only mentioned the end solution that worked for us: Install the O2 sensor (Enmet Model ISA-40M). I should also mention that the particular room is a terbuculosis lab with many biosafety regulations attached to its operation - e.g. you can't just vent the unfiltered TB lab air outside. For this situation, if a CO2 line leaks and the oxygen level goes low, the horn honks; and you can easily test the unit by holding your breath for 10 seconds and exhaling on the sensor (codified on page 10 on the maintenance manual). It's the same reason people put low-oxygen sensors in wine cellars - so when the butler goes down to get wine he'll come up again. Of course for brevity's sake my email to Vic was only three lines long, and Vic's a professional engineer. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify. Eric >>> "Tsiakals, Nicholas John"
7/8/2010 8:55 AM >>> This may be more than you're looking for, but here goes: "Just install the detection system" might sound like a good / prudent thing to do, but there are some drawbacks. With the information on the table, I would put "Just install it" under the "blindly over-controlled" column. (By "blind" I mean "blind with respect to what is strictly necessary" or "blind w.r.t. how much control is enough control".) Be aware that when bills come due and money gets tight, decision-makers can very easily cut the installation or maintenance costs on such systems - where's the justification? So the challenge is to develop a good understanding of what is an acceptable risk: What control measures are necessary to sufficiently control the hazard? Where is "the line", and how far beyond the line should we be? A more robust rationale than "it's easy enough to do" is to run reasonable scenarios to describe the risk in the current scheme. What would it take to develop an Oxygen Deficient Condition at any one of these utility stations? At any neighboring offices? How likely is such a scenario? For instance, if you know it would require a very noticeable (think: loud) leak for 20 min in a busy hallway, then you may reasonably conclude a detection/alarm system would be overly redundant. On the other hand, if a small bleed could result in an ODH at a desk, then the detection/alarm system would seem very justifiable. Recognize that an alarm system is an administrative control. What action does it call for someone to perform? If the detection system is connected to emergency ventilation or shut-offs, now we are talking engineering controls. So I would urge you to work forward through the hierarchy of controls: elimination - substitution - engineering controls - administrati ve controls - personal protective equipment. Are there design phase (engineering control) solutions which make the administrative control unnecessary? A principal question here is, "If there were a problem, how would you know?" followed by, "How likely is it that a problem occurs?" Hope this helps, -Nick -----Original Message----- From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Eric Clark Sent: Thursday, July 08, 2010 10:02 AM To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU: CODE REQUIREMENTS FOR NITROGEN UTILITY STATIONS IN A BUILDING Vic, Consider installing a low oxygen alarm; www.enmet.com probably has what you need. We have a similar situation using plumbed in CO2. As far as regulatory backup to justify this very minor expense, OSHA's General Duty Clause 29 CFR 654, 5(a)1 likely covers that - especially since you've already identified the specific hazard. Eric Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM Safety & Compliance Officer Los Angeles County Public Health Lab >>> 7/7/2010 8:44 AM >>> We are constructing a two-story building approximately 168 ft x 32 ft x 14 ft high on the lower floor. The building will be multi-use, with offices in one portion and maintenance facilities adjoining. There will be six utility stations in the building with nitrogen piped to each utility station along with other utilities. The nitrogen supply line at each utility station will be a one-inch diameter line with a ball valve, a check valve, and a globe valve. Could you please alert us to any applicable codes and standards specificall y regarding any risks associated nitrogen asphyxiation. Thanks and best regards, Vic Victor H. Edwards, Ph. D., P. E.(TX) Director of Process Safety Aker Solutions Tel: +1 (713) 270-2817 Mob: +1 (713) 724-0406 Fax: +1 (713) 270-3195 e-mail: vic.edwards**At_Symbol_Here**akersolutions.com Aker Solutions Americas Inc. 3600 Briarpark Drive, Houston, Texas 77042-5206 This e-mail and any attachment are confidential and may be privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure. It is solely intended for the person(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, any reading, use, disclosure, copying or distribution of all or parts of this e-mail or associated attachments is strictly prohibited. If you are not an intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by replying to this message or by telephone and delete this email and any attachments permanently from your system.
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