“How many times do I have to tell you…?”

 

“How many times do I have to tell you…?”

As a kid growing up, how many times did you hear “How many times do I have to tell you…?” about whatever detail your parents, teacher, whoever, wanted you to remember – even though you knew you might get into trouble for forgetting something.

Well, its human nature to become complacent and lose sight of the obvious – even when there might be severe consequences.

I have never visited a chemical plant or refinery where people told me that they had poor safety procedures.  In fact, they usually boast about how good their procedures are.  Procedures are critical, but, reminders are critical too.

As a rubber hose distributor selling to manufacturers, never, ever, think that you have covered “the safety story” too often.  Every time you sell a product you should remind your customer of its safety attributes – in detail.  Give them the “Why, when, how” this product improves safety.  And definitely, do not be afraid to offer an alternative product if it offers improved safety features.  Those are the most important “Features and Benefits” you can offer.

Below is a recent CSB Accident Report.  Please review it.  And after you stop thinking to yourself that it seems improbable, you will realize just how probable it really is.

(Remember when people used to say…You know it’s a bad day when you answer your door and “60 Minutes” is there?  Well, you know it’s a bad day when you see your name in a CSB Accident Report.)

CSB Releases Preliminary Findings into Chemical Release at MGPI Industries; Investigators Note Insufficient Safety Design Features and Shortcomings in Emergency Shutdown Devices

Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released preliminary findings from its ongoing investigation of the toxic chemical release that occurred at the MGPI Processing plant in Atchison, Kansas, on October 21, 2016. The CSB’s investigation into the release has identified several shortcomings in the design and labeling of loading stations, as well as adherence to chemical unloading procedures.

The MGPI facility produces distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches. The chemical release occurred when sulfuric acid was inadvertently unloaded from a tanker truck into a fixed sodium hypochlorite tank at the plant. The two materials combined to produce chlorine gas that sent over 140 individuals, both workers and members of the public, to area hospitals and resulted in shelter-in-place and evacuation orders for thousands of local residents.

Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “This type of accident is preventable. Our investigation demonstrates all too clearly that complacency with routine practices and procedures can result in severe consequences. A reaction that produced thousands of pounds of a hazardous chemical had the potential be much more serious – the CSB’s aim is to issue clear safety improvements which can be made to similar facilities across the country.”

The CSB’s investigation found that at about 7:35 am, a tanker truck from Harcros Chemicals arrived at the MGPI facility to deliver sulfuric acid. There, a facility operator escorted the driver to a locked loading area. The operator unlocked the gate to the fill lines and also unlocked the sulfuric acid fill line.

The CSB found that the facility operator likely did not notice that the sodium hypochlorite fill line was also already unlocked before returning to his work station. The driver connected the sulfuric acid discharge hose from the truck into the sodium hypochlorite fill line. The line used to transfer sulfuric acid looked similar to the sodium hypochlorite line, and the two lines were located in close proximity.

As a result of the incorrect connection, thousands of gallons of sulfuric acid from the tanker truck entered the facility’s sodium hypochlorite tank. The resulting mixture created a dense green cloud, which traveled northeast of the facility until the wind shifted the cloud northwest towards a more densely populated area of town. The CSB investigation concluded that emergency shutdown mechanisms were not in place or were not actuated from either a remote location at the facility or in the truck. The CSB found a number of design deficiencies that increased the likelihood of an incorrect connection, such as the close proximity of the fill lines, and unclear and poorly placed chemical labels.

In addition, the CSB found that both MGPI and Harcros did not follow internal procedures for unloading operations. CSB Investigator-in-Charge Lucy Tyler said, “Unloading activities occur at thousands of facilities across the country every day. This event should serve to remind industry to review their own chemical unloading operations and work with motor carriers to ensure chemicals are unloaded safely.”

The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency whose mission is to drive chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment. The agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical incidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. For more information, contact public@csb.gov.

Important FACTs About Hose Safety

You’ve got the STAMPED info, now what do you do?

Get the FACT info!
(Fitting and Coupling Test information!)

A lot has been written over the years about how important it is to get the STAMPED information from your end-user customer in order to build the appropriate hose system for the application. OK.  So, you’ve got it.  Now what do you do?

The best and the most reliable means for you to provide the safest hose system for your customer is to ask your suppliers for their FACT information!  Fitting And Coupling Test information.  It should detail the conditions of the test, test temperature, style of hose, type of attachment and test results.  An engineering report complete with photography is the ultimate.

You might start by researching your supplier’s websites for pressure ratings, performance data and test data. But, this is where things can get a little dicey.

Hose manufacturers often publish details including pressure and temperature parameters.  For example a chemical hose clearly states on the lay-line “200 psi. at 250° F”.  Does that mean 200 psi. at 250°F at the same time? …with what coupling and attachment?

Some coupling manufacturers offer pressure rating information and some don’t publish any performance data at all.  Or, often times, those that do publish data don’t take into consideration the type of hose, hose attachment, temperature or media.

One thing to keep in mind, no matter which supplier, the more detail they provide the better you can rely on the information.  More detail usually means they have performed more in-depth testing and have a broader understanding of the issue…

…and remember, always ask for the test data, “I want the FACT’s. man, just the FACT’s

SO here are our Campbell FACTs

Performance Data

Test Reports

Wow. You Actually Make Things!

We do a lot of customer training at our plant facilities in Pennsylvania. Part of the training event is a tour of our factory. Quite frequently, a trainee-visitor will enthusiastically comment;

“Wow. You actually make things!”

While we are very pleased with their enthusiasm, we are struck by the social commentary. Apparently, many people just assume most everything is imported from some offshore manufacturer. Campbell has been a production machine-shop/manufacturer since the turn of the century (the other century – 1901). We are proud of our heritage. We have built our product line and our brand by designing and manufacturing the best hose fittings, couplings, clamps, ferrules, sleeves and accessories in the world. And we look forward to introducing new products and services this year and for years to come.

And yes, while we sell some imported products, we make the bulk of what we sell in our plant in Boyertown, Pennsylvania!

So, please enjoy a tour of our plant in our new video.

U.S. Workplace Fatalities Likely at Highest Level Since 2008

Source: WSJ – Alexandra Berzon

I hear a lot of distributors comment that their customers don’t care about safety and price is all that matters.

Is workplace safety really the priority espoused by the Industry?  Or, are refineries, chemical plants, contractors, oilfield services companies, etc. all conspiring to improve the bottom line at the expense of worker well-being?  I contend that safety and a strong bottom line can and must coexist.

It is the responsibility – actually it is in the best interest – of every professional hose distributor salesperson to properly educate their customers on safety and safe products.  A plant Safety Manager, who doesn’t know about the newest and best products that can improve his or her plant, will continue with the status quo.  This means the plant purchasing manager will seek the lowest priced products they can find.

Keys to overcoming price objections:

  • Educate the right people
    • Start by educating the Safety Manager/Safety Department.  You’ll make a friend and create a “champion” who will help you navigate the purchasing department. (Wake up! the Purchasing Department doesn’t care about your safety speech.)
  • Become a hero
    • You’ve now solved problems for your “champion”. Work together to overcome any objections from purchasing.
    • Become the hero when you are able to show purchasing that safer products aren’t necessarily more expensive products.  (Bang! Win-win.)
  • Establish yourself as a resource
    • By introducing your customers to new products you are educating them on how to improve safety.  In this way, you will become an important resource for them and ultimately a long-term supplier.

You can win short-term, low profit business by being the lowest quote or you can win long-term profitable business by educating the appropriate people!

Remember… “If you think safety is expensive, try an accident”.

Product Liability: “Duty to Warn”

I had an interesting meeting with our Insurance Company this week regarding product liability.  They were very pleased with our record (we’ve never had a loss from a claim in my 34 years with the company).  But, they still worry.  They know what our products are used for – to convey a lot of different kinds of media, some potentially volatile, some under pressure and sometimes very hot

My broker asked me (almost under his breath): “How have you been able to sell millions and millions of fittings all over the world without ever getting dragged into court for some reason?”

My answer was simple.  “It’s because of our focus on safety, attention to detail, innovative hose attachment designs and lots of testing.”  I continued to say that all of us at Campbell are passionate about safety, passionate about our Crimpnology™ hose attachment system and passionate about the training that goes with it.

They followed up by asking: “Are your customers as passionate about safety as you are?”  “Are they always following your procedures?”  “Do they ask for training when they need it?”

Why am I telling you this?

While our insurance company is pleased with our record, they never stop worrying.  And with regard to Crimpnology™, they informed us of our “duty to warn”. 

Warning:

Crimpnology™ is designed as an integrated system of Campbell components providing consistent and proven hose assembly performance and safety.  Always follow published procedures.  Crimping Campbell sleeves or ferrules onto non-Campbell fittings (or the other way around) DOES NOT provide a system, has not been tested by Campbell and will not protect you from the costs of liability claims and litigation.

Unfortunately, for the few customers who did not use the Crimpnology™ system or did not follow our procedures, there have been accidents  – even where post-assembly proof tests have been performed.  Those cases have resulted in financial damages for the distributor (not to mention potential damage to reputation and loss of business).

Our record proves we are on the right track.  And, by far, most of our customers are on the right track too.  This is just a gentle reminder of how important it is to stay the course and use Crimpnology™ to your advantage.

-Tom Paff, President

Safety is “Elegant” for your SWAN!

Steam. Water. Air. Nitrogen.

The cover story in the June, 2015 edition of Chemical Processing titled “Use of Elegant Design to Bolster Inherent Safety” outlines commonly used plant safety procedures. Specifically, a portion of the article notes that specifications for utility hoses in refineries and chemical plants for steam, water, air and nitrogen (known as SWAN) should require different color and fitting configurations in order to avoid crossing one media with another – especially for air and nitrogen hoses.

In my experience, virtually every plant has specifications for utility hoses calling out hose color and fitting type to differentiate the hose and media. Unfortunately, there is no national specification and there-in lies a problem.

Contractors are the nomads of our industry. They travel from plant to plant where the specs change at every new stop. Contractors can easily get confused when one plant uses green hose with single-lock couplings for air and blue hose with double-lock couplings for nitrogen, then they move on to another plant using a different set of specs.

To solve this problem, Campbell designed and manufactures single-lock and double-lock, nitrogen-only, couplings. They employ permanently attached, bright yellow, nitrogen identification rings that clearly state “FOR NITROGEN USE ONLY”. When the fittings are installed on the nitrogen outlet and on each hose-end, every contractor will know – regardless of the plant spec – connect yellow ring to yellow ring for nitrogen. The rings are threaded and can be used as a secondary lock-out.

Safety made simple, easy and elegant.