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Hydrostatic Testing Safety Precautions - Do's and Don'ts

Hydrostatic Testing Safety Precautions - Do's and Don'ts
Hydrostatic Testing Safety Precautions - Do's and Don'ts

Hydrostatic Testing Safety Precautions - Do's and Don'ts

The hydrostatic testing is a type of pressure test to verify the integrity of the system under pressurized conditions in the form of strength and leak testing of piping with components, pressure vessels, gas cylinders, boilers and others pressure equipment and systems. Typically, water is used as test media in hydrostatic test process.
Hydrostatic testing involves filling the vessels, pipeline or system (which need to be tested)  with water, then pressurized with a hydraulic pump until the test pressure reaches (normally 1.5 times design pressure), hold the pressure for a specified time by shutting off the supply valve and checking for any leakage or pressure drop. If the pressure drops beyond the standard tolerable limit, the test is declared FAILED.

Safety Precautions in Hydrostatic Testing

Hydrostatic testing is a risky process as it involves pressurizing the system with high pressure which can fail and cause serious personal injury or property damage. Although testing is performed under the supervision of a competent person, the following is the risk associated with hydrostatic testing;
In the event of a leak or burst, a person can be injured by exposure to high pressure liquid. High pressure fluid can tear the skin and damage internal organs.
The pressure hose connection of hydraulic pump to test piping/ vessels can be detached and may hit a person nearby.
To control the above hazards, appropriate safety precautions must be ensured while performing hydrostatic test
The hydrostatic test must only be performed under the supervision of a competent person.
Follow the permit to work system and establish well communication
Barricade the area to restrict the man movement and display caution boards to alert people.
Provide whip latch arrester to secure the hoses
Equipment and accessories used for pressure build-up and inspections must be certified and calibrated.

Hydrostatic test Safety Do’s and Don’ts

  • Follow the permit to work system and communicate the associated hazards to engaged manpower.
  • Perform hydrostatic test under the supervision of a competent person only.
  • Clearly mark the scope of hydrotest on P&ID and ensure positive isolation of equipment and piping that are not included in the hydrostatic test loop.
  • Inspect all test equipment and tools, even if they are brand new.
  • Check the design pressure of equipment such as vessel, piping, etc. before the test.
  • Ensure calibration of pressure measuring instruments and tools.
  • All fittings must be rated above the maximum hydrostatic pressure.
  • Ensure the setting and calibration of safety relief valve.
  • Install at least two pressure gauges at an appropriate place so that it is easily readable.
  • Isolate, barricade the test area with safety signages in local and English language.
  • If possible, perform the test from a remote area.
  • Make sure that all pipeline and vessel supports are firm, in good condition and have been inspected prior to start hydrotest.
  • Start the de-pressurization by gradually opening the vent valve.
  • Open the lowest drain point to remove water from the vessel, pipeline, etc.
  • Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPEs).

  • Don’t monitor the pressurization step directly in front of the pressure gauges.
  • Don’t forget to remove the air pockets through the vent line.
  • Don’t attempt to tighten the bolts if the flange leaks during hydrotesting and system is pressurized.
  • Don’t open the drain valve if the vent valve is closed.
  • Don’t use a pressure gauge with under rated capacity.
  • Don’t allow unauthorized person to enter the test area.
  • Don’t forget to obtain work permit and wear appropriate PPEs.
  • Don’t leave any electrical equipment without adequate protection
  • Don’t leave the remaining/ residual pressure trapped inside the pipeline or vessel after testing.
  • Don’t forget to provide proper access and egress for work at height.
  • Don’t drain the hydrotest water on the floor, make sure there is adequate drainage.
  • Don’t miss to isolate monitoring devices/ site glass.
  • Don’t allow other activities in the vicinity of the hydrotesting work area.

Hydrostatic pressure testing is hazardous activity and poses a risk of serious injury to persons or property damage. Proper job planning with permit to work system and a skilled and competent workforce can minimize the risk of failure and help prevent accidents. This safety Do’s and Don’ts of hydrostatic testing can be displayed on the job site to remind the workers about safety precautions. A toolbox talk must be conducted before starting the daily work to enhance the competency of involved workforce and also to communicate the safety measures on changing operational conditions.
You can share these safety precautions in the form of Do’s and Don’ts of hydrostatic testing with you employees and workers to keep the workplace safe.
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