How to Winterproof Industrial Sites with SA Equip

As winter continues to descend on the UK, workers involved in industrial operations face unique challenges that can present major obstacles to both safety and productivity. In the latest learning resource from SA Equip, we explore how risks to personnel and processes can be mitigated with a combination of awareness and well-specified safety solutions. In […]

As winter continues to descend on the UK, workers involved in industrial operations face unique challenges that can present major obstacles to both safety and productivity. In the latest learning resource from SA Equip, we explore how risks to personnel and processes can be mitigated with a combination of awareness and well-specified safety solutions.

In terms of the challenges industrial workers face in winter, working in low temperatures represents the tip of the iceberg. Among the many difficulties faced during this season, workers typically strive to overcome issues such as:

  • Freezing temperatures: Plummeting temperatures can cause machinery to seize and pipes to freeze, halting the flow of liquids and gases crucial to daily operations.
  • Impacts on fluid viscosity:  The viscosity of fluids often changes in the cold, with many liquids used in refineries and offshore platforms reaching high viscosity at low temperatures. This affects their movement and the efficiency of the processes they’re part of.
  • Corrosion: Corrosion is accelerated by low temperatures, which can lead to structural weaknesses or failures.
  • Health & safety: Additionally, shorter days and poor visibility increase the risk of accidents, while slippery conditions from ice and snow create additional hazards.

The fact is that all of these challenges can lead to increased downtime, as operations may be forced to slow or stop to handle weather-related issues. These disruptions not only impact productivity but also can drive up costs and compromise worker safety. Where these challenges are present, SA Equip’s range of heating and lighting solutions listed below can be a gamechanger.

Solution #1: The SA FLEXIHEAT EX Heater

The SA FLEXIHEAT Heater is adept at creating a controlled, explosion-proof environment. This heater ensures that even in frigid conditions, workspaces are kept safe and warm, allowing materials to cure properly and operations to continue without the risk of freezing.

In the applications below, particularly in winter, ATEX heaters can provide several benefits:

  • Composite repairs: In the composite repair industry, ATEX heaters are essential for creating a controlled and safe environment. The heating element helps in curing and setting composite materials in a regulated atmosphere.
  • Fabric maintenance: ATEX heaters can be used to maintain and repair fabric structures in environments where explosive atmospheres may be present. The controlled heating is crucial for the proper application of adhesives and coatings.
  • Oil refineries: Oil refineries often have areas where there is a risk of explosive gases or vapours. ATEX heaters are used to provide warmth in these environments while ensuring safety and compliance with regulations.
  • Offshore platforms: Offshore platforms are exposed to harsh weather conditions, especially during winter. ATEX heaters can be used to maintain a suitable temperature for equipment, materials and workers while operating in potentially explosive atmospheres.
  • Confined spaces: ATEX heaters are suitable for confined spaces where there may be a build-up of explosive gases or vapours. These heaters ensure that the confined space remains within the safe temperature range while minimising the risk of explosions.
  • Curing or drying paint: In various industries, such as automotive or manufacturing, where painting and coating processes are involved, ATEX heaters are used to facilitate the curing or drying of paint in environments with explosive risks.
  • Pipeline maintenance: ATEX heaters can be utilised during pipeline maintenance activities in cold weather to prevent freezing or maintain a suitable temperature for the materials being transported.

Solution #2: SA FLEXIHEAT EX Pipe Heating Jackets

Incredibly versatile, SA Flexiheat Pipe Heating Jackets ensure pipe integrity, fluid flow and effective heat distribution in cold weather conditions. Pipe heating jackets can be useful in the below applications during winter:

  • Freeze prevention & operational efficiency: ATEX pipe heating jackets can provide consistent and controlled heat to prevent freezing, ensuring smooth operation across various pieces of equipment. ATEX heating jackets also allow for precise temperature control, ensuring that the equipment operates within the desired temperature range, which is crucial for the efficiency of processes on offshore platforms, refineries, FPSOs, vessels and pipelines.
  • Maintaining viscosity & corrosion prevention: Heating jackets help in maintaining required viscosity, ensuring that the fluids can flow smoothly through the pipes and valves. Meanwhile, the temperature of the pipes can be maintained at levels that prevent corrosion, extending the lifespan of the equipment and reducing maintenance costs.
  • Safety standard compliance: In environments such as offshore platforms and refineries where there may be flammable substances, using ATEX-compliant heating jackets helps ensure that safety standards are met, reducing the risk of accidents.

Solution #3: EX Lighting

Proper lighting during the winter months is critical. With extended periods of darkness and the potential for harsh weather conditions, ATEX-certified lighting solutions from SA Equip ensure that work areas are well-illuminated, safe and productive, adhering to the most stringent regulations required in explosive atmospheres.

These specialized lighting systems address several unique challenges posed by winter weather conditions:

  • Low visibility: EX LED lighting provides adequate illumination in winter conditions with reduced visibility.
  • Harsh weather resistance: Designed to withstand extreme winter weather on offshore platforms and installations. Offshore platforms and other installations are exposed to harsh winter weather, including strong winds and freezing temperatures. EX lighting fixtures are built to withstand these conditions, ensuring that they remain operational and reliable even in extreme weather.
  • Hazard prevention: ATEX lighting minimizes the risk of sparks in environments prone to gas leaks or spills.
  • Emergency response & emergency response: Crucial Regulatory compliance: ATEX lighting ensures adherence to safety regulations in industries with explosive atmospheres. These solutions are also crucial for swift and safe response during emergencies or equipment malfunctions.

The integration of SA Equip’s EX certified heaters, pipe heating jackets, and lighting systems provides a comprehensive approach to overcoming the seasonal adversities faced in industrial operations, safeguarding continuous productivity and enhancing worker safety. For advice on how to get started, check out the section below.

Tackle Winter Work Challenges with SA Equip

This winter, SA Equip invites you to transform your approach to safety, welfare and productivity. To get started, view our full range of solutions or contact us now for a rapid response. Alternatively, find your local distributor.