7 Hazardous Energy Use: Examples And Detailed Facts


This article discusses about hazardous energy use. Here the term hazardous does not refer to the quality of energy but the processes of tapping it.

For example, fossil fuel in itself is not hazardous but the processes we use to tap the energy they possess is hazardous. The energy is referred as hazardous when it has chances of hurting personnel or environment. In this article we will discuss about what is hazardous energy and discuss their uses.

Hazardous energy use

Hazardous energy if tapped with all the precautions, it can prove very useful to us. The following points discuss the uses of hazardous energy

Electric energy

The electricity is very important to us as it powers almost every machine in our homes. Without electricity we will not be able to switch on lights, ACs, watch TV etc. Electricity is a very vital discovery for human kind.

Mechanical energy

Mechanical energy refers to the energy produced by the moving machine parts. It is one of the most basic forms of energy without which nothing can be possible. All the mechanisms, running of engines, flying of aeroplanes is possible due to mechanical energy.

Nuclear energy

Nuclear fission is the process by which the nuclear energy is tapped. The electricity is produced with the help of energy produced in the fission process. The Nuclear energy.

hazardous energy use
Image : Nuclear Power Plant

Image credits : AvdaKernkraftwerk Grafenrheinfeld – 2013CC BY-SA 3.0

Stored energy

The stored energy refers to the energy that comes out as leak from a storage tank or vessel. Storing of substances is essential as we cannot produce the substance each time we need it as it would be very tideous.

Hydraulic energy

The hydraulic energy makes it easier for us to move heavy objects. It uses Pascal’s law which simply gives us the area of the piston head required to move the load.

Pneumatic energy

Pneumatics refer to the energy transferred with the help of gases rather than liquids. For liquids the term used is hydraulics. They are used in actuators for example actuating of solenoid.

Chemical energy

The chemicals are used in many industries like paints, pharmaceuticals, propulsion, fuel etc. Using right chemical combinations will make our lives simpler, although any miscalculation can be fatal.

Thermal energy

Thermal energy can be used for producing electricity or run turbines in aircrafts or run the engines in automobiles. The thermal energy can be fatal if some how the vessel explodes or the thermal energy leaks out of the vessel inside which the fuel is being burnt. The power plant may catch fire causing injury to personnel.

What is hazardous energy?

The term hazardous means something which can have a negative impact on life. Hazardous energy refers to that energy which can bring risk to life.

It is the energy which can harm personnel working in the factory. The most hazardous energy is considered the energy tapped by burning the fossil fuels. Even radiation is hazardous energy, the long term effects of radiation are very severe and can cause adverse health problems in later generations too.

Sources of hazardous energy

The sources of hazardous energy are discussed in the section given below-

  • Hydraulic energy – Hydraulic energy is the energy produced by the action of liquids. Incompressible liquids have a great potential of pushing away heavy objects. The liquid used is known as hydraulic fluid.
  • Mechanical energy– Mechanical energy is the energy possessed by the object’s position and motion. Mechanical energy is the most basic form of energy.
  • Pneumatic energy– Pneumatic energy is the energy produced by the action of gases. It works in a similar way to hydraulics with the only difference being that the working fluid used here is a gas and not liquid.
  • Chemical energy– Chemicals are used in many industries like food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, paints etc.
  • Thermal energy– Thermal energy is produced when a working fluid is heated or already warm fluid is used as a working fluid. The heat can be fatal if not handled properly.
  • Stored energy– The stored energy comes from the storage tanks in which various products are stored. The long term storage can lead to leaks. Sometimes the leak can be fatal.
  • Nuclear energy– Nuclear energy is tapped from atoms by the process of nuclear fission. An immense amount of energy is released when the atom is split in to two parts.
  • Electricity– Electricity generation is a very versatile process, the electricity if not handled properly may lead to fire and can be fatal.

What are the most common types of workplace hazards?

At workplace specially shop floors in factories, the most common types of hazards are those which include machine operations and human carelessness.

Slipping on shop floors, object falling on head, metal chips flying here and there, touching hot work pieces, smelling toxic gases are some of the most common work place hazards. These can be avoided by taking basic precautions.

What is energy control procedure?

Energy control procedure is a set of instructions given to the personnel who will be guiding the operators or he himself will be operating the machine.

Without following the energy control procedure, one may give birth to a fatal disaster. The disaster does not necessarily be factory confined but the disaster can also lead to destruction of an entire city. One such example is Chernobyl disaster where the entire city of Chernobyl was evacuated.

What are the steps of lock out?

Any lock out procedure should have following six steps-

  • Preparation– Preparation means to employ the personnel and guiding the operators with the correct steps. Preparation also includes taking decisions on which part of the machine is to be shut down or brought down to maintenance.
  • Shutdown– Shutdown of certain machine parts is essential before taking the machine/machine parts under maintenance.
  • Isolation– Isolation refers to confining the machine at one place such that it is out of the reach of its source energy. The machine runs on this energy so the machine should be deprived of this energy when it is sent for maintenance. Once the machine is completely isolated, we can take the machine for maintenance.
  • Lockout– This step is from which the entire six step procedure takes its name. The personnel locks out the machines which are isolated from energy to mark it safe. The tags on the devices usually contain the name of the personnel who used the lock out device.
  • Stored energy check– Stored energy check is very important step. Before producing more energy, the amount of stored energy needs to be checked else the possibilities of energy explosion will increase.
  • Isolation verification– Isolation verification is a term used to double check whether the energy isolation systems are intact and the machines are good to go under maintenance.

Summary

From this article we can conclude that even though tapping energy can be hazardous, by correct precautions and care we can tap the energy without any injuries to personnel. We should also consider the fact that tapping of these energies is very important for human lives.

Abhishek

Hi ....I am Abhishek Khambhata, have pursued B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout four years of my engineering, I have designed and flown unmanned aerial vehicles. My forte is fluid mechanics and thermal engineering. My fourth-year project was based on the performance enhancement of unmanned aerial vehicles using solar technology. I would like to connect with like-minded people.

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