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Safety Awareness

These articles on DCU Safety Awareness are written by people who work in the field.  We can all learn from each other’s safe and unsafe experiences.  Send in your story

Startup Support

Are you starting up or commissioning a new grassroots delayed coker? The cost to design, purchase, and build that unit is likely to exceeded $1 Billion USD. How many people at your plant have actually operated at delayed coker? Not very many refineries have more than 1 delayed coker so unless you hired all experienced people from your competition, most of the plant staff are learning on the fly. The team of experts has experience operating all types of licensor designs and equipment manufacturers. Getting outside support from third party, industry experts... more

Fire at the Coker Drums Top

The Coker unit has a valve to send drum outlet to the blowdown system when the cooling step is working. It is a routine operation. This operation was done at 4 pm. At 7 pm the shift supervisor and operators changed shift. The authorization was done, but the inspection was not. At 8 pm maintenance operators opened the flanges over the drum to clean the lines from drum to fractionator to remove coke added in the line wall. At 9 pm the fire ocurred because the valve to the blown... more

Automated Coke Drum Switching and Safety Interlocks

by Bruce Kerr, Fluor Daniel Introduction Why are refiners today installing safety interlocks and even fully automating the coke drum switch? Delayed Cokers are very manpower intensive units that require a great deal of operator attention. Through the years refiners, that have Delayed Cokers, have seen and/or have read many incident reports where operators have inadvertently opened valves creating serious safety problems. Results from these incidents can be and have been devastating, not only to equipment loss and unit downtime but moreover serious injury to personnel and even death. Operating Philosophies... more

Heater Coke Up Due to Switch Valve Relay Failure

Maloperation of Velan switch valve due to shorting of slow release relay (component failure) in the remote panel circuit. While on routine operation of coke drum switching, operator had finished the vapour heating of drum but was yet to open the feed isolation valve to vapour heated drum. As soon as switch valve selector switch was put on remote position (as safety interlock exists in this mode) and operator went to open feed isolation valve, switch valve rotated on its own towards the heated drum and further to bypass position... more

Containment System For Coke Drums

Inventor: Tariq Malik Brief Summary of the Invention A coke and water containment system has been developed which provides operators of delayed coking units improved margins of safety in draining, unheading and decoking coke drums. This invention utilizes on an exemplified embodiment, concentric cylindrical shields to provide a mechanical shield to protect personnel on the coker switch deck from coke avalanches and hot water. FIG. 1 Is an elevated view of the lower portion of a coke drum having a lower end that is supported above a switch deck floor.... more

Routine Walk Prevents a Major Incident

An operator was reviewing his furnace charge pumps on a routine walk around and noticed some unnatural coking around a weld on a case drain. There was an indication of a possible leak. The 3/4″ piping was removed from the case drain and found to be corroded to paper thin. Proper inspection and metallurgy in these areas is important. Great job by the operator to spot this situation and prevent a major incident. Harry (Jim) Blevins... more

I Chose to Look the Other Way

Don Merrell I could have saved a life that day, But I chose to look the other way. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I had the time, and I was there. But I didn’t want to seem a fool, Or argue over a safety rule. I knew he’d done the job before, If I called it wrong, he might get sore. The chances didn’t seem that bad, I’ve done the same, he knew I had. So I shook my head and walked on by, He knew the risks as... more

Decoking Hose Failure: A Safety Threat

By C H Anand, Reliance Group of Industries, Jamnagar There was a near miss incident in our coker unit about a year back. One of our decoking water hoses had failed from its top rotary joint end and fell down on the cutting platform. There was no indication that it was about to rupture (that’s why “near miss”). The hose had failed from its coupling portion due to improper bonding/curing of the glue used. Fortunately, nobody was beneath the falling hose when it failed and a major accident got avoided.... more

Metallurgy Mix-up: A Near Miss

By C H Anand, Reliance Group of Industries, Jamnagar In our delayed coker unit one evening, one of our operators noticed fumes from the drain connection of feed line in one of our coke drums. The drum was in its coking cycle. It was found that the leakage was partially coked up when insulation was removed. The leakage was from the sockolet to nipple weld. After a round of discussions, it was decided to shutdown the block for repairing the connection. When our technician tried to remove the bolting of... more

It’s Up to Me

by Don Merrill I want a workplace, that’s Injury Free And if that’s going to happen, then it’s up to me. I can’t take for granted, that anyone, Has done all the things, that I should have done. I must, take the time, with each task I do, To look for the hazards, and think the job through. To check the procedures and follow them all And reject taking shortcuts, no matter how small. When I walk though the workplace, I must stay alert To watch for those things, that... more