Key Takeaways from SOCMA’s May 16 Webinar

Materials in Motion!
Material Transfer: Understanding the Associated Risks and Best Practices for Mitigating Them

Specialty chemical manufacturers handle a multitude of chemistries and materials every day, and it is imperative employees understand ways to minimize associated risks that can occur with transfers, including static electricity, overfilling, and others hazards and injuries due to equipment failure and other potential scenarios.

Mike Burson, EHS&S Director of SOCMA member Seatex LLC, and Tony Dublino, Regional Account Manager of SafeRack, joined SOCMA to share best practices for addressing potential incidents, OSHA compliance, and available equipment and pre-engineered designs to prevent slips, trips, falls and other hazards.

Ensure safety and compliance with types of controls.

Seatex employs three main types of controls throughout its four facilities – engineering, administrative, and PPE with an inventory management strategy to ensure workers remain safe with access to necessary protective equipment.

Engineering Controls       

  • GIB Equipment Liquid Drum Filling Lance – a supplement to an automatic drum filler, or to pull material from packaging.
  • Newson Gale Grounding & Bonding – This system, as opposed to unstructured system, indicates whether pipes are grounded and bonded or not. Workers can tell whether pipes are properly installed and connected to prevent static electricity from occurring during materials transfer.
  • Fall Protection & Wheel Chocks – Having preventative measures in place for fall protection for tankers and/or rail cars can prevent uncontrolled activity and hazardous injuries from occurring.

Administrative Controls

  • Policies & Procedures – When relying on employees to follow procedures, having extra measures in place to avoid occurrences of human error will minimize further risks. Example policies and procedures include:
    • Preventative Maintenance: Focus on including hose inspections, continuity testing & service life program(s).
    • Securing of ancillary equipment: For example, use of straps or other suitable devices to secure drum lances, hose connections, etc.
    • New product reviews: Review new chemicals and/or chemistry to determine requirements related to material transfer.
    • Regulator settings: Verify that regulators are set to appropriate specifications and are functioning properly.
    • Hose Inspections: Thes inspections go beyond normal preventative maintenance, i.e. conduct daily inspections prior to use.
    • Eye Wash/Safety Shower Inspections: Inspections prior to working/ handling chemistry in the area.

Provide easy access to any personal protective equipment (PPE) needs.

  • Establish staging areas for shared PPE and ensure that appropriate PPE is available.
  • Consider use of vending machines for PPE accessibility.

Determine potential hazards of stored energy at your facility and identify appropriate measures to mitigate such hazards.

  • Potential hazards may include unplanned transfer hazards, such as equipment failure, overfilling, loss of secure transfer line, runaway reactions, and static electricity.
  • The potential injuries of these hazards include inhalation, skin contact and ingestion.

Utilization of Lessons Learned to identify, establish, and communicate preventative and/or corrective actions.

  • Establish Incident Management System
    • Enables proper tracking, recording of preventative and/or corrective actions, and data to assess future risks.
  • Root Cause Analysis
    • Conduct as necessary for medium to high-level incidents.
    • Involve senior-level management – CEO, COO, EHS Director
    • Discuss incident investigation and identify proper preventative and/or corrective actions.

In addition to the above, slips, trips and falls are the number one cause of workplace injuries and OSHA hazard. OSHA is preparing to increase workplace safety violations by 80% in the near future. SafeRack is an industry service provider offering equipment solutions for accessing tanks, rail cars and other operational equipment at a particular facility.

SafeRack’s products include everything to ensure optimal safety measures, from work platforms, cross-over stairs, guard huts, pipe racks, spill containment, swing gates, and weather protection.

In conclusion, only you and your team can begin to identify the specific needs of your chemical facility. Based on these identifications and qualifications, utilization of service providers like SafeRack and continued engagement with SOCMA in best practice sharing enables you to learn valuable insight from your peers.

Contact SOCMA’s Technical & Safety team to learn more: Joe Dettinger,, and Sarah Williams,

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