October, 2004

200401OctAll DayAvailable when needed?Process Safety Beacon | Look Through the Camouflage and IDENTIFY your Hidden HazardsLessons:Operational IntegrityLanguage:EN Origin: CCPS Document Type:BulletinTopics:Human Factors


Sometimes hazards are right in front of us and we fail to see them for what they are… because they are so obvious! In this case, it would be impossible to:
1) Get to the valve quickly, and
2) operate the valve in an emergency.

As you go about your daily duties, look for “visible” hidden hazards in your facility.

• A chain AND two branches prevent this valve from being operated. The valve and handle are painted red which lead us to believe it’s part of a fire water system-usually a pretty important system in an emergency. This valve won’t be easy to access in an emergency and its pretty obvious it hasn’t been turned in YEARS! This facility must not have a program to test emergency systems regularly. What would you do if your job was to open or close this valve?
• This is an excellent example of an emergency system that is NOT operable. Your facility may have valves or other equipment that are even more inaccessible. You don’t notice them because they are used infrequently and tend to be forgotten—until they are needed. Where do they exist in your facility?
• Being able to access and operate critical pieces of equipment is essential in today’s process and manufacturing operations in all industries. It doesn’t matter if it is a valve, electrical pushbutton, or just having a clear line of sight to a field temperature or pressure gage. If you can’t get to it and use it as intended when needed, it is a hazard-sometimes a visible Hidden Hazard. Do you have any of these visible Hidden Hazards in your workplace?
• The next time you come across a situation where access is difficult, or you have concerns regarding operability of equipment in your facility, discuss it with your supervisor or department / area safety committee.

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CCPSCenter for Chemical Process Safety