WorkSafe was recently notified of two incidents involving the use of unsuitable flexible hoses. Both incidents resulted in 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.
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, gases, etc.
Replace hoses with hard-piped lines
Where reasonably practicable to do so, 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.
Select hose assemblies based on a risk assessment
Employers must 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 may also develop internal minimum standards and specifications for hoses.
Maintain a hose register
Employers should 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
Conduct regular inspection and maintenance
Employers should 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
- Rretiring/disposal process
- pneumatic or hydraulic leak testing
Provide information, instruction and training
Employers must ensure that employees are provided with adequate information, instruction and training on:
- selection and appropriate use of flexible hose assemblies
- visual inspection including Pass/Fail Criteria for use
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must, so far as reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees. This includes identifying risks to health or safety and eliminating or reducing those risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Employers must, as far as is reasonably practicable, provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are safe and without risks to health
- Employers must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that people other than employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the employer's conduct
- Employers must provide employees the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health;
For Dangerous Goods hoses, the occupier must ensure that any risk associated with the transfer of dangerous goods—
- from area to area within the premises; or
- from or into a container on the premises
—is eliminated or, if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk, is reduced so far as is reasonably practicable.
- AS 2683-2000 Hose and hose assemblies for distribution of petroleum and petroleum products (excepting LPG)
- AS 2117-1991 Hose and hose assemblies for petroleum and petroleum products - Marine suction and discharge
- AS 2660-1991 Hose and hose assemblies - Air/water - For underground coal mines
- AS 1869-2012 Hose and hose assemblies for liquefied petroleum gases (LP Gas), natural gas and town gas
- Australian Dangerous Goods Code Edition 7.5
- ISO 14113:2013 Gas welding equipment — Rubber and plastics hose and hose assemblies for use with industrial gases up to 450 bar (45 MPa)
- ISO 16964:2019 Gas cylinders – Flexible hoses assemblies – Specification and testing