General Requirements >> Pressure Vessels, Drums and Containers

Worker injuries can be caused by the rupture of vessels under pressure. Precautions must be taken to prevent over-pressurization and the vessels must meet the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) guidelines of design and construction. [29 CFR 1915.172]

Note: Confined space entry is one of the leading hazards associated with barge cleaning. Review Ship Repair: Confined or Enclosed Spaces and Other Dangerous Atmospheres for information on how to protect workers from this hazard.

Figure 1: Abrasive blasting pressure vessel

Potential Hazards

Worker injuries from flying debris or fluids may be caused from rupturing pressure vessels such as:

  • Abrasive blasting hoppers
  • Air compressor holding tanks
  • Air receivers
  • Air surge tanks
  • Paint pots
  • Pressurized water tanks
Figure 2: Pressurized tanks with relief valve

Requirements and Example Solution

  • Portable, unfired pressure vessels must be designed and constructed to meet ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. Hydrostatic testing must be conducted and a record maintained. [29 CFR 1915.172(a), (b), and (d)] Relief valves must be set to the safe working pressure. [29 CFR 1915.172(c)]
Figure 3: Proper storage of compressed gas cylinders

Potential Hazard

Worker injuries from flying debris, fluids, and fire and explosions may be caused from rupturing drums or containers.

Figure 4: Safe storage of flammable and toxic chemicals

Requirements and Example Solutions

  • Shipping drums and containers must not be pressurized to remove their contents. [29 CFR 1915.173(a)]
  • Temporary pressurized piping systems conveying hazardous liquids or gases must be provided with a relief valve and bypass to prevent rupture. [29 CFR 1915.173(b)]
  • Pressure vessels, drums, and containers containing toxic or flammable liquids or gases must not be stored or used near ignition or heat sources. [29 CFR 1915.173(c)]
  • Pressure vessels, drums, and containers containing flammable or toxic liquids or gases must be stored in safe areas to prevent physical damage. [29 CFR 1915.173(d)]
  • Containers of 55 gallons or more containing flammable or toxic liquid must be protected by dikes or pans. [29 CFR 1915.173(e)]
  • Fire extinguishers adequate in number and suitable for the hazard must be provided. [29 CFR 1915.173(f)]
Figure 5: Storage of 55 gallon drum in pan to contain leaks