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Section: 56.13011
Date: 06/24/2011
District: NC
Negligence: Low
Injury or Illness: Unlikely
Injury or illness could be expected to be: Lost Workdays or Restricted Only
Significant and Substantial: No

Condition or Practice: The operator had an air pressure tank with a pressure gauge that was located along an air line past a gate valve. This gauge could not continuously give an accurate reading of the pressure within the tank should the gate valve be closed. At that point when this gate valve is closed the gauge would only be reading the pressure with the air line. A miner not knowing what the accurate air pressure is within the tank could have it rupture resulting in lost work days or restricted duty type injuries. Miner have an outside source check the air compressor unit for safety and did not notice the discrepancy.

Action to Terminate: The operator placed a properly functioning gauge on the end of the tank which will give continuously correct reading of the pressure within the unit.

Why this concerns you: The gauge was in a tee directly after the gate valve that was plumbed into the tank. This compressor/receiver tank plumbing has been in service for many years and inspected multiple times. The only condition that would dictate shutting the valve is when the air system is being serviced or repaired.



Abatement Suggestions From Industry


Take this to contest and argue that the standard does not require continuous monitoring, only 'accurate' monitoring of the pressure in the tank. Open the valve, and the pressure in the tank can be determined. Arguing that the device is not functional unless it is continually performing/measuring can be countered by asking the inspector, at court, about backflow preventers on water systems.

Backflow preventers are required on many water systems, and they must work. However, they are not required to work continuously, ie, you don't have to always run water through a backflow preventer for it to be legal, and more than you have to constantly run air through a pressure gauge for it to be legal.

Same for pressure gauges on compressed gas cylinders. They only accurately monitor the pressure in the tank when the valve is open. Must I retrofit my compressed gas cylinders with a special gauge to read the pressure continuously inside them?
- posted on 06/30/2011


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