RFA releases hinged and bolted manway safety document at the FEW

By Erin Voegele | June 10, 2013

On June 10, the Renewable Fuels Association released a new set of guidelines on rail transportation safety in conjunction with the start of the 2013 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo. According to the RFA, the document, titled “Guidelines for Hinged and Bolted Manway Assembly,” is a resource for ethanol shippers designed to ensure the safe transport of ethanol through the rail system.

Within the guidelines, the RFA states that the document was prepared in response to an increased need for an engineering standard for the inspection, maintenance and securement of hinged and bolted manway to ensure leak-free performance.

In the document, the RFA explains that there were more than 730 non-accident releases (NARs) related to tank cars transporting ethanol and ethanol related-products from 2007 through 2012, with more than 150 of those NARs associate with a hinged and bolted manway. The guidelines include information to aid load out operators ensure leak-free performance over a broad range of temperatures and pressures.

According to the RFA, the document explains the correct assembly of a manway, the proper inspection steps, information on the most efficient way to spot imperfections, and steps needed to create and maintain a consistent process to secure manways in order to prevent NARs.

The guidelines include graphical representations of a hinged and bolted manway, a list of common elements to consider when assembling a hinged and bolted manway, manway assembly instructions, inspection guidelines, as well as guidelines related to employer training for assembly personnel.

“Rail safety is vitally important to the RFA and something as simple as under tightening or over tightening a bolt on the manway can lead to an accidental release of ethanol. We lead an extensive research program looking at the production process for manways and ways to improve their proper securement. Our ultimate goal is zero non-accident releases and the guidelines are a significant first step toward reaching that goal,” said Kristy Moore, RFA’s vice president of technical services, in a statement announcing the availability of the guidelines.

According to information released by the RFA, the organization’s representatives will have a manway on hand at the FEW to demonstrate the correct way to seal and tighten the bolds. A copy of the “Guidelines for Hinged and Bolted Manway Assembly,” can be picked up at the RFA’s FEW exhibit or downloaded from the RFA website