GAS PIPE WELDING IN AN EXPLOSIVE-RISK ENVIRONMENT

Almost all manufacturers have gas piping installed. But one of the key safety considerations when PSI works in a plant is whether we’re installing gas piping in new construction or in an existing building that’s expanding or adding new equipment. The risks to my service team, our customer’s employees and the plant itself are not even close in those two scenarios.

In a new building, there is virtually no risk in installing gas pipe: We’re not tied to a meter yet.

But if we get a call to put gas piping in an addition or to add new equipment, we often must take down the meter, blank off the system, then triple check to be sure it’s properly blanked off so nothing bad can happen.
Then we find and purge all ports with nitrogen to get as much gas out of the system as we can before we begin welding. The nitrogen replaces the oxygen within the line — and you can’t have flame without oxygen!

Our guys are trained to make sure the nitrogen is always in the line while they weld. Still, there’s always a risk.

Here’s why this kind of gas piping repair is so dangerous:

The inside of a pipe is very porous. Even gas fumes can convert to a liquid and embed into the piping. I’ve been on jobs where an 8-inch pipe shot a 6-foot ball of flame out of the end that just kept shooting and popping until all its gas inside burned off. If you’re in that room during a fireball like that, you’re obviously in danger of catching fire, as well. But we do jobs like this all the time. Our guys have been trained to weld in these conditions, and they do it successfully.

PSI trains all technicians in-house. We take training very seriously and are committed to an apprenticeship-like training program. Even though everyone’s a certified welder, at minimum, no one is sent on a gas repair job by themselves. Welders are always paired with someone who’s been with the company for a long time and has done multiple hazardous installs.

The tech will work under a veteran welder so we always have someone on the job site who’s done dangerous installations multiple times and is very familiar with the safety procedures to do it.

In fact, PSI has been recognized over many years for its dedication to safety through our in-house training, including by the Association of Builders and Contractors.

This commitment to safety has averted disaster even when “it wasn’t our job,” like the time a demolition company was using a torch to cut through walls, but accidentally cut through a live gas line. Read about that here. We happened to be on the job to save the plant and the demo guy.

As Pauline Lally, president of our company, often asks, “What type of technicians would you rather have on your high-risk project: Someone who is well-trained, and committed to quality and excellence? Or someone who dreads going to work every day and is struggling to make it through their 8 hours?” Read more about our training philosophy here.

ABOUT PIPING SYSTEMS, INC.

At Piping Systems, Inc., we work together to create memorable relationships with our clients. Our “No Headache” policy means you can always count on us to be reliable, high-performing, professional, knowledgeable and highly-efficient problem solvers.

When you hire the PSI Team, you not only get process piping, fire protection, HVAC and electrical services, you also benefit by our award-winning safety program, our commitment to community and a warranty that goes well beyond the industry standard.

Be efficient with your time, and trust Piping Systems, Inc. to be efficient with your piping project. I promise in the long run, you will be thrilled. Have any questions? Drop us an email, psi@PipingSystemsInc.com or give us a call today at 508.644.2221.

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