Employee Injured Testing Pressure Relief Valve

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, IL (Fermi National Accelerator Lab)

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Operations, Training and Qualification, Compressed Gas/Air, Laboratory

Proper thread engagement is paramount when working with high pressure systems.

An employee mounted a relief valve on a high pressure test vessel with two stainless steel reducing bushings. The test pressure was brought up to 1650 psig at which time the relief valve began to chatter (open and close) rapidly before it broke free from the bushing assembly and propelled upwards towards the ceiling. The relief valve ricocheted off the ceiling, contacting the employee in the back of the head, before landing on the floor. The contact with the 4.42 pound relief valve caused a contusion and laceration requiring four sutures behind the right ear.

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