I’ve seen a couple posts here and one from David Tracy on the front page about PPE and figured I’d share mine from this week.

I work around chlorine gas cylinders, and my employer requires us to wear full face respirators while doing it. We all were pretty hesitant about it at first because between the 6 guys involved we have over 120 years experience with chlorine systems and have always been fine using the old: isolate the line, hold your breath when cracking any seal, and have a rescue air tank nearby Incase things go sideways.

This week I was glad I went in looking like this:

To put it mildly things went very sideways. We were hit with the double whammy of a defective gas cylinder and a defective feed regulator.

The stem on the cylinder is apparently damaged and turning it to what should’ve been off didn’t shut off the gas flow. That caused it to build up pressure inside the regulator. No big deal, the regulator is designed with a valve to vent excess pressure. I’m betting you can guess which part of the regulator failed, the pressure vent.

We use a bottle of ammonia when we open connection. Use squeeze gas towards the connection and white smoke means there’s chlorine present. We always get a tiny cloud due to residual in the lines.

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That day we got a smoke cloud that would’ve made the crowd at a vaping competition proud. It was BAD! Thankfully we were ready with the safety cap and got it slapped into place. 

If we hadn’t worn our goofy respirators we would’ve both gone to the hospital without a doubt. The chlorine smell left in our clothes was bad enough that we were told to leave our respirators on till we had aired out a few minutes. With the respirator on I never even smelled it.