Safety alert issued over selection and use of flexible hose assemblies

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Tuesday, 26 May, 2020 - 19:00
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert about the risks associated with using unsuitable flexible hose assemblies at dangerous goods facilities.

The alert was issued following two incidents involving the use of unsuitable flexible hoses, and both incidents resulted in the loss of containment and in one case injury to an employee.

The incidents were caused by the selection and use of hose assemblies that were not suitable for the intended purpose, with respect to temperature and chemical compatibility, construction materials and inappropriate couplings and fittings.

The alert noted that employees in close proximity to hoses, such as braided steel hoses used at dangerous goods facilities, are at risk of serious injury should loss of containment occur due to incorrect or poorly maintained hoses and fittings being used.

This may apply to all forms of hoses and uses, including hose assemblies used for water, chemicals and gases.

Where reasonably practicable to do so, the alert said employers should replace flexible hoses with permanent hard-piped lines, which are designed and constructed for the intended purpose. This will reduce the risk of loss of containment.

Employers must also ensure that flexible hose assemblies are fit for purpose and do not pose a risk to health and safety.

A risk assessment, which considers the full range of operating conditions, in consultation with employees and the hose manufacturer/supplier, should be the basis on which hose assemblies are selected.

The risk assessment should consider:

  • Temperature range rating
  • Pressure range rating
  • Material of construction compatibility
  • Intended service
  • Appropriate fittings, for example: couplings and clamps
  • Use of hose whip checks/restraining wires or permanent fixtures in instances where hose whip could result from high pressure and failure of fittings
  • Likely external environmental exposures, for example: corrosion

Employers should also maintain a hose register, which is kept on site and is available for inspection and records information, such as:

  • Hose make and model
  • Date of installation and service life
  • Manufacturer’s design specifications, for example: temperature and pressure ratings
  • Inspection and maintenance requirements
  • Location of hose
  • Process/lines where hoses are compatible for use
  • Compatible fittings

Employers should also ensure:

  • Hoses are identified with a consistent labelling and tagging system
  • Hose assemblies, including all fittings, are inspected regularly and maintained in accordance with relevant standards or manufacturer’s specifications
  • Inspection and maintenance activities may include:
  • Checks of currency of the hose register
  • Appropriate storage, for example clear identification/segregation of hose assemblies tagged out or retired
  • Visual inspection prior to use
  • Decontamination and cleaning requirements
  • Defects reporting and tag out process
  • Retiring/disposal process
  • Pneumatic or hydraulic leak testing