Emerson educates the regulator on tank monitoring

NIOSH hazard alert sparks call for new tank gauging standard and VeriCase radar accuracy checks.

Emerson bloggers Jim Cahill and Christoffer Widahl have drawn attention to the risks associated with manual gauging of production tanks. The fact that this is a potentially dangerous operation was highlighted by a recent worker fatality and a hazardous alert (HA3843) from Niosh, the US National institute for occupational safety and health. There were nine fatalities caused by manual gauging or sampling of production tanks between 2010 and 2014 with workers exposed to toxic hydrocarbons when opening hatches for manual gauging. Emerson therefore recommends automated tank gauging (ATG). But while the API18.1 safety standard covers large (>100bbl) tanks, there is no standard that supports cost effective ATG on smaller tanks where high end custody transfer kit would be uneconomical.

A new standard in prep, API18.2, addresses automated tank gauging in small production tanks which often already have level monitoring radars for overfill prevention. Such tanks should immediately start to adopt the new standard and use radar level measurements for custody transfer. Emerson’s Rosemount unit recommends using its VeriCase tool to ensure that tank radars comply with the accuracy verification requirements of the new standard.

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