As a fast-growing part of the energy sector, the biofuel industry has become an attractive place to work and invest. To protect your company in the biofuel industry, it is essential to recognize potential workplace hazards of biofuels and their production processes and take steps to protect workers from harm.
Here are some precautions your business can take to protect workers from harm while working with biofuels and their hazards:
Fire and Explosion Hazards:
To protect workers, it is essential to prevent releases, avoid ignition of spills and to equip your facility with appropriate fire protection systems and emergency response procedures.
Necessary engineering controls include:
- Good facility layout
- Proper design of vessels and piping systems
- Proper selection of electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas
- Adequate instrumentation with alarms, interlocks and shutdowns
Creating and maintaining proper administrative controls is also important. These might include:
- Operating procedures
- Good maintenance practices
- Safe work procedures
Chemical Reactivity Hazards:
Some processes for making ethanol from materials such as wastepaper and wood chips use concentrated acids and bases, which can react vigorously with many materials.
Failure to control potentially dangerous chemical reactions could result in rupture of equipment and piping, explosions, fires and exposures to hazardous chemicals. Preventive measures include:
- Controlling the rate and order of chemical addition
- Providing robust cooling
- Segregating incompatible materials to prevent inadvertent mixing
- Creating detailed operating procedures
Biofuels and their components present toxic exposure hazards that you need to carefully control to protect workers. Consult each chemical component’s safety data sheet (SDS) to determine the potential for toxic exposures to feed stocks, products and other chemicals used in biofuel processes, including caustic, sulphuric acid, ethanol and biodiesel, as well as hydrocarbons used for blending and alcohol denaturing.
Take the following measures to reduce risk:
- Take release prevention, ventilation and drainage into consideration during design, fabrication and the creation of maintenance practices.
- Require the use of appropriate personal protective equipment when needed.
Find Out More:
Due to the health hazards while handling biofuels, it is best to create safety and protective policies with extra caution to protect both your employees and your company.
Download your own copy of our "Manufacturing Risks: The Hazards of Biofuels" guide for free so you can better understand how to protect your assets and manage risks: