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cuchien
03-24-2016, 03:51 PM
Hi guys, this happens in my area yesterday:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/03/24/search-underway-for-cause-fatal-ammonia-leak-south-boston-fish-warehouse/RXnsiu1fzef9r18RSUflGI/story.html#comments

This place uses 5400 gallons of ammonia. So this reminds us not to touch anything if we don't know what we are doing. Not many people would heed that advice until it's too late.

joejax
03-24-2016, 07:11 PM
That is terrible, thoughts and prayers to his family. It could happen to any of us, just trying to make an honest living. Make a mistake or just dumb luck, you never know.

Ammonia should be outlawed, our jobs are dangerous enough; ladders, roof tops, electricity, explosive gases, idiots texting and driving, etc.

You won't catch me working on that junk, I will flat out refuse. The closest I came to one was on a rooftop about 50 feet away. It was hissing and spitting and you could smell it, no thanks.

CRussell1975
03-24-2016, 11:27 PM
Blame the refrigerant not the safety practices. I have worked around Ammonia. Yes, it's dangerous. But not anymore than anything else when handled properly.

Kind of like an ad I saw by some residential HVAC company about how 'unsafe' it was to retrofit R22 and how the EPA had deemed most of the replacements "hazardous". Every drum of refrigerant out there is labeled "Hazardous if improperly handled" and "Can be lethal" in some wording or another.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

vsimkus
03-25-2016, 01:58 PM
Ammonia is one of the best refrigerant's out there. Not only due to its thermophysical properties, but also due to it's negligible environmental impact and safety.

The fact that is smells like hell is what makes it self-alarming and much safer than other refrigerants. IDHL for anhydrous ammonia is 300ppm. Human detection threshold is 5ppm. You'll smell it long before it gets to the level of being incapacitating. Ammonia will give you plenty of warning, where as the other refrigerants will simply asphyxiate you.

The article mentions a broken 1.5" pipe. Assuming that is was in fact broken, any refrigerant in that quantity is potentially lethal.




That is terrible, thoughts and prayers to his family. It could happen to any of us, just trying to make an honest living. Make a mistake or just dumb luck, you never know.

Ammonia should be outlawed, our jobs are dangerous enough; ladders, roof tops, electricity, explosive gases, idiots texting and driving, etc.

You won't catch me working on that junk, I will flat out refuse. The closest I came to one was on a rooftop about 50 feet away. It was hissing and spitting and you could smell it, no thanks.

CRussell1975
03-25-2016, 02:17 PM
Ammonia is one of the best refrigerant's out there. Not only due to its thermophysical properties, but also due to it's negligible environmental impact and safety.

The fact that is smells like hell is what makes it self-alarming and much safer than other refrigerants. IDHL for anhydrous ammonia is 300ppm. Human detection threshold is 5ppm. You'll smell it long before it gets to the level of being incapacitating. Ammonia will give you plenty of warning, where as the other refrigerants will simply asphyxiate you.

The article mentions a broken 1.5" pipe. Assuming that is was in fact broken, any refrigerant in that quantity is potentially lethal.
Good point. I have walked in motor room running an HFC or the like and could tell there was a leak from getting dizzy.... and couldn't smell anything. I would have much rather have been able to open a door and smelled it first.

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joejax
03-25-2016, 03:58 PM
Good points. I guess I get freaked out with all the horror stories I have heard.

I have been in machine rooms with refrigerant leak detection systems, which are somewhat helpful.

maka
03-25-2016, 06:54 PM
The accident reported globally,
Fish processing facility built in 30's , company has had multipe warnings for safety in plant and plant condition.
Now a person dies. Beggars belief how some companies regard safety.
I have worked with ammonia plant for 40 years, safety comes first.

maka
03-25-2016, 08:15 PM
Ammonia refrigeration has been around for a hundred plus years and hopefully most safety factors are in place, but the goal posts are constantly shifting. Generally large installations and high risk applications.
The real issue with natural refrigerants are the propane / isobutane based refrigerants now on the market coming your way soon.
Classified as mildy explosive, what the hell !!!!!, so you mildly explode and mildly die a slow burning death....... in your own home. Domestic refrigerators, freezers and air conditioning. Plus you cannot smell the stuff if leaking, bring back domestic ammonia systems some one please, you will definitely know when it leaks, so run like hell into a wind. Smoke detectors a must in every home please, we have 4 in our place.

Ricky Dale
03-27-2016, 04:29 PM
All of you are correct but we sleep 1/3 of the time. So 33 % of the time we won't smell it and die if it's within our living space. Being alert and smelling is one thing being asleep and breathing it until our lungs will not open is another.

pecmsg
03-27-2016, 06:06 PM
The accident reported globally,
Fish processing facility built in 30's , company has had multipe warnings for safety in plant and plant condition.
Now a person dies. Beggars belief how some companies regard safety.
I have worked with ammonia plant for 40 years, safety comes first.

I have worked with ammonia plant for 40 years, safety Shouldcome first.

Damn shame something like this happens this day and age, just no reason for it!

maka
03-28-2016, 07:58 PM
I totally agree with " should ' comment.
But in business the "should " comment is an optional out clause factor if money is envolved. For companies they limit expenditure to legislation requirements, so they can enhance share holders and stock values returns .
People/ workers do not enter into it, they are just a ways and means to make money.
Current OHS trending globally puts human risk/ death straight back at company Directors CEO's , what ever as a public liabilty risk that cannot be insurred against as an off risk cover compensation, but a personal debt against actual business owners and about time as well.

bigtime
03-28-2016, 09:20 PM
That is a tragedy and I am sorry for the workers family. Just wonder what happened to rupture the 1 1/2" pipe. The fireman saying the location of the shut off valve caused this is not a refrigeration guy. Would be interested to know what was the cause.

maka
03-28-2016, 09:48 PM
The main liquid isolation valve should be clearly marked and identified as the " king " valve or main isolation of liquid to plant from plant room. The Fire response Service should be aware of its location and valve should be clearly marked, I spray the valves with dazzle paint to make them obvious even in the dark/power shut and holding a torch, with a plant isolation description display next to it and with all the phone numbers of all critical people.
Currently doing pipe work changes from sch 40 API line pipe mild steel to stainless steel suctions and liquid lines on several site. the real risk is under insulated pipework after 30 odd years the wall thickness corrossion is horendous even under insulation.
I have had some seriously close disasters pending after stripping off insulation and prior pump outs.
Fortunately the new regs here and owners risk exposure has got the attention of most plant owners thank goodness. Low temp suction schedule 10 S/S and high pressure liquid schedule 40.

maka
03-29-2016, 08:24 PM
The latest reports state the emergancy shut down SWITCH did not operate and was in the centre of the building.
Question : why an electric shut down, has it been tested regularly, why did response team not know where is was , were there any manual valves, why the hell was it in middle of building ????????.
now some one is dead.

bigtime
03-29-2016, 09:40 PM
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.34603,-71.0387263,157m/data=!3m1!1e3

Just looked at the location and it is surprising they have an ammonia system in the middle of such a congested area. Im sure its been there a long time. It doesnt look like a real complicated system with just piping going across the roof to some air units in the storage area and then on to the dock units.

Maka, you may be right about the pipe corroding and this causing the failure. Depending on what pipe failed i could see all the low side blowing back even if the king valve was closed.

Want to say again I am very sorry for this guy and his family. Its good to understand the cause of things like this to learn how to prevent in future.

SuperGenius
03-29-2016, 09:57 PM
this is a terrible incident, but it is not the gases fault i have worked with ammonia and as long as proper procedures are taken and equipment is maintained to spec this kinds of things dont really happen. the whole problem with the ammonia industry is the kinds of techs you can hire for 12-18 dollars an hour the only people make more than that is the chief engineer. Ammonia is a good gas but the people working with it shouldnt be low level techs it should be handled by professionals.

just for the i would have never left the ammonia field if it payed right, i like working on big equipment.

FSE_
03-31-2016, 05:43 PM
Ammonia refrigeration has been around for a hundred plus years and hopefully most safety factors are in place, but the goal posts are constantly shifting. Generally large installations and high risk applications.
The real issue with natural refrigerants are the propane / isobutane based refrigerants now on the market coming your way soon.
Classified as mildy explosive, what the hell !!!!!, so you mildly explode and mildly die a slow burning death....... in your own home. Domestic refrigerators, freezers and air conditioning. Plus you cannot smell the stuff if leaking, bring back domestic ammonia systems some one please, you will definitely know when it leaks, so run like hell into a wind. Smoke detectors a must in every home please, we have 4 in our place.

Right now, people are over-reacting to the use of R-290, Propane, without looking at the facts.
First, it has been used in residential refrigeration in Europe for decades, with people being blown up.
Second, for commercial refrigeration in the USA, the max amount allowable is 150 grams, 5.29 oz. A Bernzomatic propane tank holds 14.1 oz. That means one of those little tanks can run 3 commercial refrigerators, single doors and 6' supermarket cases. I doubt most people are worried about being blown up and burnt with a Bernzomatic, which is sitting in most peoples garages. Propane is that efficient that charges in units are cut by half or more. So that 20 lb. propane tank in the backyard can be used in over 60 commercial refrigeration units, uprights or open cases.

FSE_
03-31-2016, 05:45 PM
I meant NOT being blown up

joejax
03-31-2016, 06:39 PM
I meant NOT being blown up

Nope, too late, did some research; people get blowed up over there due to propane being used in A/C units and there has been rumors of domestic units blowing up. :playing:

And you can't use Bernzomatic in a refrigeration system!:beat:

And I'm not too worried about it, just goofing around.....

FSE_
03-31-2016, 08:00 PM
Nope, too late, did some research; people get blowed up over there due to propane being used in A/C units and there has been rumors of domestic units blowing up. :playing:

And you can't use Bernzomatic in a refrigeration system!:beat:

And I'm not too worried about it, just goofing around.....

No Problem...I was using regular propane just as an example. Refrigerant quality propane is like 99.999% pure, just like refrigerant CO2. This is a good time to throw around ideas and have fun as well with all the changes coming.

joejax
03-31-2016, 08:10 PM
We were having some discussion in my thread 'Anybody take the True r-290 class.'