The Health and Safety at Work Act, along with several other regulations including the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1995, require that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is carried out to assess the health risks that may arise from exposure to potentially hazardous substances. Having completed the assessment, there is a further duty to take the necessary steps to prevent or adequately control exposure to the hazard, and to use and maintain the relevant controls.
With this in mind, when planning for a large contract within warehousing facilities, our drilling team, plant manager and fitter considered how to protect our workforce and other site users from exposure to rig exhaust emissions in an open warehouse environment. The first consideration was can we avoid generating fumes by using electric rigs – not an option due to the ground conditions and site logistics. The second consideration was therefore to prevent exposure to emissions, and to do this we needed to understand a little about what type of emissions we could potentially generate and what could be used to remove them from the working areas. The traditional option is to use ducting and ventilation fans. Again, this was not considered a practicable option due to the continued commercial activity in the warehouse.
Consultation of the HSE Publication “Control of diesel engine exhaust emission in the workplace” provides a more detailed understanding of the emissions from diesel engines. Diesel emissions contain a complex mixture of gases, vapours, liquid aerosols and particulate substances which are the products of combustion. Table 1 of the HSE publication lists the major chemical constituents in diesel exhausts:
• Carbon (soot)
• Water (H2O)
• Carbon monoxide (CO)
• Carbon dioxide (CO2)
• Nitrogen (N2)
• Oxides of nitrogen (NOx)
• Oxides of sulphur, e.g. sulphur dioxide (SO2)
• Various hydrocarbons (HC)
• Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
The soot particulates adsorb many of the organic contaminants onto their surface and as the soot content from diesel engines can range from 60 to 80% depending on the quality of fuel used and the condition of the engine, so our team focused on removing the soot from the working environment. CO levels are relatively low from diesel engine emissions and in this particular case not considered to be a major issue.
Therefore, to remove the soot from the emissions CCGI has chosen to retro-fit exhaust filters specifically designed to remove particulates. The filters are able to trap particulates as fine as 0.3 microns when first fitted and then traps increasingly smaller particulates as the filter is “conditioned” with use.
Robert Day, our new plant fitter, has done an absolutely fantastic job of integrating the parts onto our Comacchio and Fraste rigs and they are now successfully and safely working away with the new filters fitted.