Over the last week, the Indian news media has reported three separate incidents of gas leaks & a boiler blast across Visakhapatnam, Chhattisgarh and Neyveli. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.
In this blog post, we would like to share our insights on hazardous gas management- government regulations, industry best practises and an overview of our Toxic & Hazardous Fumes Monitoring solution implemented at the Directorate Of Industrial Safety & Health (DISH), Tamil Nadu.
In the second post in this series, we will discuss our studies on Leak Detection & Repair (LDAR) & Fugitive Emissions, undertaken at GLens Innovation Laboratories. We will also discuss our capabilities for conducting audits of safe storage of hazardous chemicals and solvents to prevent such incidents of gas leakage.
Types of Gases & Government Regulations for Gaseous Monitoring- A Quick Glance
Gases can be broadly categorized into 4 types-
1. Flammable Gases: Gases that are likely to catch fire easily under Normal Ambient conditions are classified as Flammable gases. Eg: Hydrogen.
2. Explosive Gases: Gases that are likely to explode easily under Normal Ambient conditions are classified as Explosive gases. Eg: LPG.
3. Toxic Gases: A toxic gas is one that is capable of causing damage to living tissues, impairment of the central nervous system, severe illness or, in extreme cases, death when it is ingested, inhaled, or absorbed by the skin or eyes. Eg: Hydrogen Sulphide.
4. Hazardous Gases: Hazardous gases are those with properties similar to Toxic gases, as well as having the property of Corrosiveness. Eg: Methyl Isocyanate.
For Gaseous Monitoring, The India Factories Act, 1948 has given separate limits for each gas for both STEL (Short Term Exposure Limit) & TWA (Time-weighted Average).
The India Factories Act 1948, Sec 41 F states the following with regard to permissible limits of exposure of chemical and toxic substances:
- The maximum permissible threshold limits of exposure of chemical and toxic substances in manufacturing processes (whether hazardous or otherwise) in any factory shall be of the value indicated in the Second Schedule.
- The Central Government may, at any time, for the purpose of giving effect to any scientific proof obtained from specialised institutions or experts in the field, by notification in the Official Gazette, make suitable changes in the said Schedule.
Following the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) implemented two sets of rules- Manufacture, Storage & Import of Hazardous Chemicals (MSIHC) Rules, 1989 and Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and response) (CAEPPR) Rules, 1996 to regulate the manufacturing, use & handling of hazardous chemicals.
The MSIHC Rules are to prevent major chemical accidents in industrial sites, while the CAEPPR Rules provide the regulatory backup for efficient disaster management. The full list of 600+ Hazardous & Toxic Chemicals as per MSIHC Rules may be found here: https://ciflabour.assam.gov.in/sites/default/files/MSIHC%20Rules.pdf
The principal objectives of the MSIHC Rules are: ̇
- Prevention of major accidents arising from industrial activities
- Limitation of the effects of such accidents both on man and on the environment
- Harmonisation of the various control measures and the agencies to prevent and limit major accidents
Best Practices and Industry Guidelines
As per the MSIHC Rules, 1989, here are some industry best practices and guidelines-
- Notify and gain approval of the Chief Inspector of Factories (CIF) for industrial sites and activities.
- Major Accident Hazard (MAH) Unit: Handling 179 chemicals in quantities above prescribed threshold amounts.
- Prepare Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
- Disclose necessary information to members of the public in the neighborhood.
- Arrange third party safety audits and notify major chemical accidents to prescribed authorities.
Solutions Available & The Way Forward
In order to prevent accidents and incidents of gas leakage, industries must focus on the following during their operations-
1. Storage and handling of hazardous chemicals or gases.
2. Generation of hazardous chemicals or gases in the production processes.
We provide solutions to industries by installing specific gas detectors and supporting parameters like level indicator, sensors, temperature and pressure. Accordingly, alarms systems may be configured, based on the toxic levels. Moreover, the same detectors may be used for ambient monitoring of leaks.
Our Hazardous Gas Management Solution at DISH, Tamil Nadu
In liaison with the Tamil Nadu Government, our Hazardous Gas Management Solution has been in operation since November 2017, monitoring the toxic and hazardous fumes emitted from nearly 20 industries across Pharmaceuticals, Fertilizers, Chemicals & Petrochemicals domains.
As part of enabling Industrial Health And Safety Monitoring, we have identified three aspects to our hazardous gas management solution-
- Acquire: We collect Gas Concentrations from various Hazardous Areas in industries in real- time using Detectors and Analyzers installed in the respective industry site.
- Transmit: Using Edge Module Transmit, the data acquired is transmitted to the Central Server at the Directorate of Industrial Safety & Health (DISH) Office in real-time via the Internet.
- Actionize: Analyze, alert, predict and take corrective action based on the data collected.
Here is an overview of our software components & capabilities-
Scrolls general Information of various industries with respective Industry Type, Location, Monitored Gases & Weekly Exceedances.
- Live Status
Shows the Live Status of Site (Connection Failure, Partial Connectivity, Exceedance, & Site Active) in Google Maps.
- Exceedance Report
To filter the list of industries that have exceeded the limits.
- Transmission Logs
To download the data transmitted by the industry for a whole day.
- Shows real-time reports, segregated based on the type of industry.
- Generates Matrix Report, Scatter Plot Report & Site Live Display.
- Generates reports based on different types of Gas Detectors used.
Considering the recent chemical storage fire accidents, hazardous gas leakages due to storage issues, explosions due to compatibility, spillages and volatilization that has caused severe effects on environment and human health, all industries should have the capabilities for real-time hazardous and toxic gas monitoring and alerting.
We are fully equipped to enable industries across several distinct domains to monitor their toxic and hazardous fumes emissions.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop us a message here or reach out to Karthik, General Manager with Knowledge Lens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read Part 2 of this blog series here.