Project: A study of occupational safety and health aspects in a coalbed methane (CBM) liquefaction plant

Completed but not published

This project was submitted on 03/07/2014

Coalbed Methane (CBM) is a form of natural gas hidden in underground coal bed mines. In the past, CBM from coal mines were extracted and burnt as wastes in China, but were extracted and transported in Western Countries.
China has a late start in transforming CBM from waste gas into energy source. The CBM extracted from coal mines undergoes liquefaction process and is transported to end users. The liquefied
CBM is safer in handling and transporting than the compressed CBM.
Company A in Shanxi, China liquefies CBM from coal mines using Cold Box. The inside of the Cold Box is a confined space with pipes filled with explosive liquid. These piping and valves need to be checked for leakage annually.
In 2010, three inspectors were seriously burnt inside the Cold Box during inspection. The plant was scraped and production stopped for 80 days.
The aim of this project is to develop a safe system of maintenance work in the Cold Box through the following objectives:

1. To identify hazards of working in the Cold Box.
2. To evaluate the effectiveness of current system of work.
3. To modify current inspection and maintenance processes
An onsite investigation was carried out to identify the causes of fire accident. Possible safety measures are explored by bench marking different international and company standards in Hong Kong.
Through risk assessment on current operation procedures, corresponding mitigation measures were proposed.
Through questionnaires, risk factors relating to inspection and maintenance collected from employees were analyzed.
Based on the information gathered, a modified systemsystem of work including working instruction within the cold box and safety inspection checklist has been developed. The modified safe system of inspection and maintenance of the Cold Box has been applied to the CBM Liquefaction Plant and no accident has recorded since then.

Undergraduate
Chemicals, Risk management
Chemical, Other

Organisation: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)

University
11 Yuk Choi Rd,
Hung Hom,
Hong Kong
www.polyu.edu.hk
+852 2766 5111

Principal Investigator: Mok Pui Sze Persis

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