Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Risk-Based Inspections

Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Risk-Based Inspections

Inspections are a key part of any commercial facility, and an important part of maintenance for many personal properties as well. It’s important to ensure that equipment, safety measures, and other important aspects of a structure are in adequate condition to continue to serve their intended purposes. Risk-based inspections are a useful form of evaluation that provide a property or facility owner with insight into the probability and consequences of failure associated with each piece of equipment.

Risk-based inspections are included in the category of business practices known as optimal maintenance, which are procedures designed to maintain systems in ways which maximize a company’s profits and minimize its costs. Risk-based inspections and other optimal maintenance procedures are useful in operating a business as efficiently as possible. Many procedures for risk-based inspection are based on the American Petroleum Institute’s recommended practices, and are performed via nondestructive testing.

A risk-based inspection usually involves 2 key components: a probability of failure analysis and a consequence of failure analysis. Each of these serves a unique role in developing a plan to maximize efficiency.
Probability of Failure (PoF) is the likelihood of a piece of equipment to break at a given time. This information can be important in determining the risk posed by the condition of the equipment and in deciding what inspection intervals to set in order to best monitor the condition of the equipment as time progresses. PoF is calculated using a generic failure frequency based on industry averages, a management system factor based on how well management and labor force are trained to handle both daily activities and emergency procedures, and the overall damage factor, which is the combination of all of the various damage possessed by the equipment at the time of evaluation.

Consequence of Failure evaluations are another part of risk-based inspections, and give the critical aspect of determining the significance of damage that could potentially occur if a piece of equipment were to fail. The evaluation acknowledges all important possibilities, including potential safety hazards, economic damages, and environmental damages. This allows engineers to understand how dangerous a piece of equipment could be when nearing the end of its lifespan.

A major benefit of a risk-based inspection is that it categorizes each piece of equipment by its risks and risk drivers, and is able to better prioritize further inspections and safety measures. Knowing how and when equipment may fail allows employees and management to make safe and educated decisions about how to continue operating equipment at all times, but especially when equipment is approaching the end of its usable lifespan.

If you are in need of a risk-based inspection for your business’s assets, contact Keith Taylor, Director of Mechanical Integrity with Encorus Group, at (716) 592-3980 ext 143 or ktaylor@encorus.com.

Special thanks to our summer intern Mara Gilmartin for this article.

Understanding Firewalls vs. Fire Barriers

Understanding Firewalls vs. Fire Barriers

Firewalls and fire barriers are both designed to prevent a fire from spreading, but these often-confused structures are actually quite different. Ideally, firewalls and fire barriers are used together to make a structure as safe as possible. These are the key factors in understanding the use of firewalls and fire barriers in construction.

The Facts About Firewalls

Firewalls are strong walls built to resist fire for up to four hours, remaining erect even if other parts of the building collapse. These exterior walls are thicker than standard walls and stretch from the foundation up to the roof. Structures subdivided with a firewall between them are considered separate buildings.

Firewalls must be constructed with materials that meet the fire-resistance building standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Long, high firewalls may be supported with pilasters or buttresses. A standard firewall is made from concrete or masonry and does not have windows, doors, or other openings. Expansion joints allow the material to expand to withstand the fire’s heat.

Firewalls do more than just contain the blaze. They must also withstand force from other structures or items that collapse within the building, such as inventory or storage.

Exploring Fire Barriers

Unlike exterior firewalls, fire barriers are walls built within a structure. They can either extend from the floor to the roof or from one floor to the ceiling of the floor above. These subdividers can cover hidden spaces and are supported by floors, columns, roofs, and other interior structures. Fire barriers can resist fire for up to three hours as long as the supporting structures have the same level of fire resistance.

This design can allow occupants to safely evacuate the building while containing the fire to the smallest possible area. This can protect the building both from fire and smoke damage, as well as water damage from sprinklers. A one-way fire barrier withstands flames from one side only. Two can be placed together to block fire from both sides.

At Encorus Group, we specialize in designing fire protection systems for medical, industrial, and nuclear facilities. Get in touch today or call 716.592.3980 to learn more about our services.

Encorus to Offer NBIC Inspections

Encorus to Offer NBIC Inspections

NBIC: National Board Inspector Certification

Do you know if your pressure vessel is in compliance with Pennsylvania boiler and unfired pressure vessel law? If not, Encorus’s Mechanical Integrity Group can offer NBIC inspections! This means that our Mechanical Integrity personnel are now trained and certified to perform inspections of pressure vessels in the state of Pennsylvania to determine if they are in compliance with state code.

According to the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors website, “The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors was created in 1919 to promote greater safety to life and property through uniformity in the construction, installation, repair, maintenance, and inspection of pressure equipment. The National Board membership oversees adherence to laws, rules, and regulations relating to boilers and pressure vessels. The National Board Members are the chief boiler inspectors representing most states and all provinces of North America, as well as many major cities in the United States”.

With this certification, Encorus will be a NBIC in-service pressure vessel inspection provider. We can inspect vessels that are currently in service, and certify that they are in satisfactory condition according to Pennsylvania law. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry requires that all pressure vessels are compliant with code ANSI/NB 23 to ensure the safe operation of the vessel. NBIC inspections should be schedules and conducted regularly every 36 months. The NBIC inspector qualification applies to other state and federal jurisdictions as well.

If you have a need for NBIC inspections for your pressure vessels, please contact Director of Inspection Services Keith Taylor at (716) 592-3980 ext 143, or at ktaylor@encorus.com. For more information about our Mechanical Integrity Group, please visit https://www.encorus.com/mechanical-integrity-inspection/.

Keith Taylor Published in “Occupational Health & Safety” Magazine

Keith Taylor Published in “Occupational Health & Safety” Magazine

Encorus Group’s Director of Mechanical Integrity, Keith Taylor, has had an article published in “Occupational Health & Safety Magazine”.  The article, titled “How Mechanical Integrity Inspections Can Help Meet OH&S Goals”, appears in the June 2019 issue and helps to explain how mechanical integrity services can help to keep workplaces safe.  You can read the article here.

Meet the MI Team – Andy Simon

Meet the MI Team – Andy Simon

Andy Simon is a Mechanical Integrity Project Manager with Encorus. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University at Buffalo and five years of mechanical integrity experience. He has a background in API pressure vessel and storage tank inspections. Andy has worked with Repsol, performing pressure vessel and piping inspections at numerous facilities in Pennsylvania, as well as with Praxair, Enterprise Products, and Amsec. Call Andy at 716.592.3980, ext. 126 for inspection services for your facility!