Safety Hazards When Roofing Around Industrial Piping
When working around gas, ammonia, or conduit lines, safety is a must. “A broken gas or ammonia line will lead to respiratory problems, eye exposure, and injury,” says Kirk Dighton, Safety Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA. “Gas lines and ammonia lines leaking can explode if there’s static electricity or a spark from an engine or hot air gun, lighter, etc.,” he warns. Conduit containing electrical lines pose a risk of electric shock as well.
Make sure you’re hiring a roofing contractor with experience working in these environments. D. C. Taylor Co. conducts a thorough job hazard analysis before every roofing project commences, and when piping-related concerns are noted, employees are trained (and refreshed) on the risks. Project supervisors discuss with crew members:
- What a release smells like.
- What to do in the event of a detected leak.
- How to prevent injury or illness.
- An exit plan to evacuate the roof (e.g. an upwind exit).
- Location of emergency showers, if exposure occurs.
Ammonia lines used for cooling can pose their own challenges. “We want an ammonia refrigeration contractor present when we’re working around ammonia lines. We want to make sure that a qualified mechanical/refrigeration professional is there in case there is a breakage,” says Mike Stickney, Vice President National Account Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA.
Some situations require that lines be shut down while the roofing crew works. “If there needs to be an extreme modification of a gas or ammonia line, we require shut down and a specialist in those areas (e.g. electrician, HVAC, etc.) perform the work, move the lines, and reconnect once the area is roofed,” explains Dighton. Electrical conduit lines, if needing to be moved quite a bit or raised up, may require shut down as well. “In most cases, if the lines are on sleepers, we can roof without disturbing the lines excessively – as long as the conduit is in good condition,” he adds.
It’s important that the roofing crew exercise caution when raising the lines to work underneath and consider pipe supports when planning the roofing project. “It’s important to keep the pipes level. If you’re putting down a different height of insulation, you have to adjust the support accordingly,” notes Timm Haefner, Vice President Construction, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA. Supports should secure the pipes in place and be sized and spaced with the weight of the pipe in mind to avoid sagging and a potential break in the line. A professional roofing contractor with experience working on industrial roofs; roof consultant; or plumbing, mechanical, or electrical contractor can help you determine what supports are appropriate and how best to install them to prevent danger or damage.
Contact D. C. Taylor Co. today at 319.731.4118 to schedule a roofing service.