Safeguarding against the Hazards of Static Electricity in Transloading Operations (Rail Cars)
The rail freight industry plays a crucial role in supporting productivity and increasing the sustainability of a country’s economy. In the United States alone, nearly $780 billion has been invested privately since the 1980s to modernize equipment, maintain infrastructure and implement technology of the ever-expanding 140,000-mile US railroad network. It is clear railroads are integral in the transportation of petroleum products. Although rail cars and tank trucks provide a fast and efficient method of loading and unloading hazardous materials, they are an inherently dangerous occupation and have the capability of forming a dangerous and disastrous partnership if not properly controlled, in industries today.
The process of grounding any metallic items of plant equipment used in industrial process operations is fraught with risk, and the nature of a static ignition is somewhat amplified when applied to tank rail car loading and unloading operations due to the size, scale, and proximity of other vehicles within the vicinity that can ignite if a charge were to propagate through the loading facility.
The flow of flammable/combustible material creates a friction build up during product transfer creating an electrostatic charge. Typically, transferring liquids (such as gasoline, diesel, or various grades of crude) and dry bulk products have the capability to accumulate charge.
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