1. Hot Pipe Coverage
Even though OSHA does not have a specific regulation defining when hot pipes need to be covered, they have stated “OSHA does consider exposed heated surfaces, if there is a potential for injury, to be a hazard and will issue citations if employees can come into contact with such surfaces.”
There are also formal OSHA standards that apply to special industries. In particular, facilities that develop textiles, pulp, paper and paperboard need to ensure compliance.
1910.262(c)(9) governs the textile industry and states “Steam pipes. All pipes carrying steam or hot water for process or servicing machinery, when exposed to contact and located within seven feet of the floor or working platform shall be covered with a heat-insulating material, or otherwise properly guarded.”
Covering those exposed heated surfaces with quality removable insulation covers could not only help compliance with OSHA regulations, but lowers the facility’s carbon footprint and cuts energy costs.
2. Wet Floors from Condensation
OSHA standards require floors be kept dry in most workplaces. Standard 1910.22(a)(2), which is part of OSHA’s general requirements, states, “The floor of every workroom shall be maintained in a clean and, so far as possible, a dry condition. Where wet processes are used, drainage shall be maintained, and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places should be provided where practicable.”
A common cause of wet floors is condensation that drips from pipes and components. For example, when there is a difference between cold water pipe temperature and air temperature, condensation forms and may drip on the floor. Utilizing removable insulation covers for those cold pipes and components eliminates condensation to keep things dry.
3. Reducing Occupational Noise
OSHA also has standards, like 1910.95, regarding workplace noise levels. When noise exposure exceeds certain levels, it is required for employers to provide protective equipment and possibly offer programs to conserve hearing.
When possible, OSHA recommends reducing noise at the source and thus should be the first thing considered in addressing workplace noise. When equipment generates high noise levels from motors, compressors etc., wrapping those with removable acoustic insulation covers could effectively mitigate the noise.
4. Replacing Potentially Harmful Insulation
Addressing the presence of asbestos and synthetic mineral fiber insulation within a facility.
Asbestos, if at all possible, should be replaced. OSHA has strong limits for exposure to asbestos and two areas exist where OSHA states asbestos may be present: pipe and boiler insulation materials. If the facility contains component insulation containing asbestos, it would be advisable to replace the insulation with a safe and long lasting removable insulation cover.
Synthetic Mineral Fibers
The most common synthetic mineral fibers in use are fiberglass and mineral wool fiber. See http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/syntheticmineralfibers/index.html for more information on the OSHA standards for these materials. If synthetic mineral fiber insulation is left uncovered, worker exposure could be increased. Utilizing a quality removable insulation cover may resolve any issues.
5. Reducing Confined Space Entry
Cramped or confined spaces within facilities can be dangerous and therefore are subject to OSHA regulations. If employers want to reduce the need to enter confined spaces, where inspections are made on valves and components, using removable insulation covers would help mitigate the safety concerns.