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HSE RR509

Plant ageing: Management of equipment containing hazardous fluids or pressure

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SUMMARY

The purpose of this report is to increase awareness of the factors to consider when managing equipment containing hazardous fluids or pressure, and to help those responsible for equipment to understand and assess the risks of accumulated damage and deterioration. The information is at a general rather than an equipment-specific level, and can be applied to a wide range of static equipment and associated machinery.

The management of equipment begins with an awareness that ageing is not about how old the equipment is, but is about what is known about its condition, and the factors that influence the onset, evolution and mitigation of its degradation. Once the symptoms of ageing are understood, and detected from inspection, a decision can be made how to proceed. The options can include putting together a case to justify continued service, re-rating, repair, or scrapping the equipment.

In addition to the engineering aspects, there are important managerial issues that should also be considered. The company culture and defined roles and responsibilities are discussed in relation to managing equipment. These are affected by staff demographics, along with skills, training and competencies. The importance of maintaining documentary information and records throughout equipment life is also highlighted.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the author(s) alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy

Publisher: HSE
Published in: 2006

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