Safety Alert
Siemens - Maxum II Edition Gas Chromatograph - Safety Features

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The UK Health and Safety Executive has issued a safety alert aimed at those using the Siemens Maxum ll Edition Gas Chromatograph.

The full alert as issued by the HSE can be downloaded here. The following text is taken from original the alert.

The Issue

"This Safety Alert is aimed at those using the Siemens Maxum II Edition Gas Chromatograph product which is believed to be widely in use in the Oil, Gas and Chemicals industries. The purpose of the Gas Chromatograph (GC) is to analyse samples of chemicals and determine the composition. Units can be installed both on industrial plant and lab facilities. Samples are fed into the Gas Chromatograph using carrier gases including hydrogen and nitrogen.

The unit is ATEX certified for use in potentially hazardous areas. The protection concept for the upper Electronics Enclosure is "PX". This design is based on a purge flow of air being used to dilute any flammable gases present below the flammable limits.

The issue was discovered after an incident when an instrument technician was injured as a result of an explosion. The GC was being returned to service after being left in 'hold' status, during this 'hold' period flammable gas (hydrogen) had accumulated in the electronics enclosure of the GC. The main safety feature to prevent the potential build-up of gas, an automatic purge unit, was not re-engaged as part of the start-up operation. It is possible to by-pass the automatic purge unit prior to start up by setting the GC mode from 'operation' to 'maintenance' using a key located behind the detector cabinet panel.

The injuries sustained were life changing and could have been even more serious.

Although the incident occurred whilst operating the Siemens Maxum II GC unit there is the possibility that a similar set of circumstances may be replicated with GC equipment from other manufacturers.

Action required

The actions required are in line with duties required by health and safety law and in particular the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (2002) Regulation 6 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (1998) Regulation 12.

Users of Siemens Maxum Edition II GC's should review the operation of the units, specifically the automatic purge unit control, making specific reference to the latest version of the Maxum Maintenance manual edition "PD Maxum II Maintenance Manual 10/2015 200596-001".

Users of the Siemens Maxum Edition II GC's should discuss the suitability of their current operating arrangements for the GC's with Siemens.

Users of GC's produced by other manufacturers should discuss the suitability of their current operating arrangements for the CG's with the manufacturers."

Contact details for further information, relevant legal documents and references can be found in the original alert issued by the HSE - download here.

Safety Alert number: 291
IOGP Safety Alerts


Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, neither the IOGP nor any of its members past present or future warrants its accuracy or will, regardless of its or their negligence, assume liability for any foreseeable or unforeseeable use made thereof, which liability is hereby excluded. Consequently, such use is at the recipient's own risk on the basis that any use by the recipient constitutes agreement to the terms of this disclaimer. The recipient is obliged to inform any subsequent recipient of such terms.
This document may provide guidance supplemental to the requirements of local legislation. Nothing herein, however, is intended to replace, amend, supersede or otherwise depart from such requirements. In the event of any conflict or contradiction between the provisions of this document and local legislation, applicable laws shall prevail.

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