All risks related to manual valve operations – Safety first!

20 July 2017

Why a PVA ? PVA Safety

Valves are used in many industries, like oil & gas, water distribution, as well as in all process industries. You can find valves pretty much everywhere, in each company, site, offshore platform, and even on the road. Some are manipulated very often while others are actuated only from time to time. These ones, particularly, must be well maintained and be operated regularly in order to be sure they work perfectly and don’t get jammed or damaged.

Actuating valves manually can be a risky operation and can lead to safety issues for the operators.

Learn about risks related to the manual operations of valves:

#On the road : be careful of traffic accidents

This risk is often an issue for the operators working in the Drinking Water System industry, for example on water leak detection. In this case the operators can actuate a large number of valves directly on the road. Traffic accidents may occur, and the risk is increased if the valves are difficult to actuate, especially if they are blocked, jammed or damaged or if the number of revolutions needed  to open and close the valve is high. In this case, the operators are focused on their task and are not able to correctly pay attention to their environment. As long as they stay on the road, they can be in danger and the risk of getting hurt is important.

#Valves at heights or in cramped spaces : be careful not to fall

Some valves may not be  so easy to access. They can be located overhead, in tight or confined spaces, in an escalator, underground, etc. Operating those valves can put the operator in danger causing him to fall from a stepladder for example.

#Risk of getting hurt, injured or risk of occupational diseases

Some valves can be hard to actuate especially if they are jammed for example. In this case the operator has to apply a significant force in order to open or close the valves. This task can be particularly painful and lead to backaches, or pains in the arms.

Moreover, frequent manipulations of valves and repetitive tasks can cause even more serious illness in the long term like tendinitis, musculoskeletal disorder, as well as pain in the hips and elbows.

Manipulating valves can be a dangerous operation for the operators in the short and long term. It is necessary to take all precautions in order to limit the risk of getting hurt. Before actuating a valve it is recommended to know about the general principles of prevention like wearing the proper equipment, and to use the available tools to avoid manual operations.


Marie-Charlotte Messier
Marie-Charlotte Messier

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