Winterization Safety Digest

As outdoor air temperatures drop, it is important for chemical and other process facilities to be prepared for the unique safety challenges posed by cold weather, such as the hazards of water freezing and expanding, which can damage equipment or cause instrumentation to fail. When the temperature drops and water freezes to ice and expands, it can crack or break pipes and rupture or damage process equipment. This damaged equipment may not become evident until the temperature rises, the ice thaws, and a leak develops. More subtle hazards may also exist, such as the formation of a hydrate, where water chemically combines with a compound, which can also expand and block process piping. Facilities’ process safety management programs, including hazard reviews, management of change (MOC) evaluations, pre-startup safety reviews, and operating procedures, should reflect a year-round focus on how low temperatures may affect piping and other equipment and instrumentation. 

Investigations Relevant to Winterization 

Valero Refinery Propane Fire

Bethlehem Steel Corporation Gas Condensate Fire


Fire from Ice 

Winterization Safety Message