Posts Tagged safety

Automatic Overfill Prevention System- Learning from the CAPECO incident

We all know tank farms play a crucial role in any terminal or refinery, yet they are among the most neglected areas of automation in most facilities.

Improperly managed tank farms present a number of hazards for employees, physical assets, and the environment. Tank farms, storage areas, and loading/unloading sites all require continual monitoring of critical process parameters.

Many tank farm accidents have been traced to ineffective use of technology leading to loss of level control and eventually, overfill.  Overfill in a hazardous environment has taken lives and leaves widespread damage to the surrounding community.

CAEPCO Incident

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board issued their investigation report regarding the CAPECO petroleum terminal facility explosion in 2009, pinpointing “inadequate management of gasoline storage tank overfill hazards”.

Safe tank farm management is becoming increasingly more challenging: Off-site piping grows more complex and operator workload becomes more demanding. At the same time, we are seeing a continuing drive for higher efficiency across the industry.

Honeywell has just released a whitepaper on implementing overfill prevention systems. Download the white paper here:

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Using digital switches for critical safety systems

The following is an excerpt from “Digital switches with self-diagnostics can improve results and ease the implementation of safety systems” by Rick Frauton of United Electric, originally published in the September 2011 issue Pumps & Systems magazine. Rick is the product manager for UE’s One Series line of electronic pressure and temperature switches, and has been working with customers to identify applications where these switches can improve application and plant safety. Thanks, Rick, for being our guest blogger this week.


Years ago, most switches were blind mechanical devices actuated electromechanically or by pneumatics. They offered no indication of reliability, such as success or failure in response to a command. This lack of feedback was particularly worrisome in safety applications. The result could be catastrophic, should a malfunction occur in place of the proper response to a tripped pressure or temperature alarm.

Read the rest of this entry »

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