Award for gas sensitive lift

One of Eurotank's Niftylift 90s alongside a typical tank vent pipe

Eurotank Environmental has won the 2008 Health and Safety award at the Association of Petroleum Explosives Administration, for its Pyroban modified Niftylift 90s.

Eurotank provides filling station forecourt tank maintenance services for supermarkets and oil companies. A key part of the companies work requires access to vent-off pipes, which are typically located at heights of four to six metres, often in difficult to reach areas.

The vent cap and pressure vacuum valve must be inspected and replaced annually, but this operation usually results in a sudden burst of flammable vapour venting to the immediate area.

Ed Wheeler, managing director of Eurotank Environmental, said: "Direct access to the valves is usually difficult, traditionally, ladders or access towers were used for the job. With strengthened Work at Height Regulations in 2007, we wanted to introduce motorised access platforms that we can easily tow and quickly set up. However, it wasn't that simple because of the flammable vapour and risk of explosion".

Eurotank's risk assessment showed that there were significant ignition sources present on the trailer mounted Niftylift 90s that it had selected.

"We had to find a solution to prevent the equipment from causing an ignition in the unlikely event that the vapour and air mix could support an explosion during a stage 1b VR inspection. We needed an economic, added safety solution, adds Wheeler..

Nifty teamed up with Pyroban which proposed its Gascheka system that provides visual and audible alarm if just 10 percent of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL propane) is detected. At 25 percent LEL, the system automatically shuts down the equipment to isolate the ignition sources.

The system was installed featuring two gas (vapour) detection heads, one at ground level near the machines electric motor and one which moves with the operator's cage. The system is fitted with an automatic gas test so that the operator knows that both sensing heads are working each time the platform is used. In addition, the system self calibrates to ensure continued integrity of the sensing device.

"Not only do we have to think about the safety of our engineers, but also the safety of customers who will still be using the fuel station while maintenance operations are carried out."

"No other company is taking this approach downstream, so we are delighted that our commitment to safety, using Pyroban equipment, has won this award. Our procedures ensure that our engineers can work safely at height and the explosion risk is managed effectivel  

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