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What is a pop-off valve? How does it protect pipeline workers?

| Jun 20, 2019 | Construction Accidents, Explosions, Fracking Accidents, Oilfield Accidents, Wrongful Death |

The pop-off valve might not receive the same recognition as the battered hard hat, the treaded rubber boot, or the leather work glove, but it is still one of the most important pieces of safety equipment in the oil and gas industry. Also called a “pressure relief valve,” it saves pipes and, most importantly, oil and gas workers’ lives. Pipelines under too much pressure practically become underground bombs, but this device counters the kaboom by acting like an automatic diffuser.

What is a pop-off valve?

A pop-off valve is an attachment that keeps the pressure in pipelines and pumps from getting too high. When the pressure inside a pipe reaches an unacceptable level, the valve opens and releases pressure from the system, stabilizing it. Because pop-off valves prevent pressure explosions, they are required for oilfield and pipeline work. A pipeline without a valve or with a faulty valve endangers workers.

What happens when a pop-off valve fails?

When too much pressure builds in a pipe and a pop-off valve fails to relieve it, pressure explosions are possible. Pressure explosions rupture the system, expelling metal shrapnel and pipeline contents. Pipe segments and collars shoot from the ground, and the liquid inside also ejects with enough velocity to cause lacerations on nearby workers. Severe injuries from blunt force trauma and even death result from oilfield accidents like this.

The pop-off valve saves lives

Pipeline work – with its heavy equipment, toxic chemicals, and combustion hazards – is inherently dangerous. However, proper safety measures can prevent a lot of accidents. Too often, oilfield accidents that could have been prevented occur because of steps skipped and corners cut. Pop-off valves must be present and functional to stave off dangerous pressure buildup.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically requires oil and gas companies to use pop-off valves, but companies fall short on inspections all the time. Sometimes, things like pop-off valve violations go undiscovered until after they precipitate an accident that harms workers. OSHA will fine oil and gas companies for violations, but they do not seek relief for the victims and families affected by the life-changing damages those violations cause.

The Wyatt Law Firm cannot erase past accidents, but we can help victims and their families move forward. If you have been injured in an oilfield accident, you may be entitled to reparation beyond the worker’s compensation offered by your employer. If your loved one was killed in an oilfield accident, you may have legal recourse. Call the Wyatt Law Firm at 210-255-2231 for a free case review or submit a confidential contact form via our website. We work with specialized investigators to gather the facts so our personal injury attorneys build the strongest possible cases for you.

We won’t let corporations bury your accident or ignore your suffering. We care about you and what has happened to you, and we are passionate about bringing you relief through justice. Let us tell your story. Let us fight for you.