5 Health and Safety Tips for Piping Engineers


This article written by Drill Service features 5 significant health and safety aspects that are crucial to consider when in a piping engineer job position.


When it comes to any construction or engineering role; health and safety is paramount to the position and must be properly practised at all times. Although piping engineers are often office based, they still have to have knowledge of important health and safety factors involved in the role such as selecting appropriate materials and preparing design specifications of piping system components.


They will need to know about various standards, industry-specific practises and code requirements. This ensures that health and safety aspects have been considered and implemented from as early on as the design phase, minimising as many potential risks as possible.


Health and Safety Aspects To Consider


Identifying risks and hazards during conceptual planning as well as the basic and detailed engineering stages of a project is key for piping engineers. They should consider the following health and safety aspects involved with the process: 


Material Selection


Materials selected for use in any piping project should be safe and suitable to use and should provide safety against brittle fracturing of piping. The following should also be considered:


    •    Any changes in concentration and/or content of fluids that are carried through the piping and surrounding environment.

    •    Erosion and corrosion mechanisms that may be present. 
    •    Past experience from similar operating plants that may give you insight in selecting these materials.


Selection of Gaskets

Gasket material selection is incredibly important and should be based on pressure, temperature, design, material and compatibility however the strength and durability of joints should also be highly considered. They should have the ability to survive a fire long enough to allow minimum time to emergency responders. Stress analysis should also be carried out in depth along with a flange leakage calculation to guarantee the safety of all piping.


Stress Analysis and Minimum Wall Thickness


When calculating minimum pipe wall thickness, it’s important you perform it in accordance with piping design codes such as ASME B31.3 to ensure pipe safety. Stress analysis must also be performed in order to prevent pipe failure due to issues such as low cycle fatigue, incremental collapse and plastic deformation. This is where design codes are incredibly useful and important as they provide rules for stress analysis, these combined stresses are then compared against accepted limited to confirm compliance and safety.


Plant Layouts


Leakage and fire hazards are amongst some of the biggest risks to consider when deciding plant layout as a piping engineer. You should carefully consider hazard segregation and specially arrange equipment to minimize potential piping runs. For example, placing a unit closer to its raw material receiving point will reduce material movement. Utilizing gravity flow feeds by using site gradient when locating facilities will minimise energy consumption.


Once your plot plan has been reviewed by relevant safety personnel, a review of a 3D model design once 30% complete will also allow for enhanced project safety bringing you closer to finalizing the plan and piping layout.




Sometimes flow or connected equipment can leave piping subjected to vibrations, leaving it open to alternating stresses and potential failure due to fatigue. When these conditions are present, socket welded and slip-on connected can often fail due to weak fillet welding which consequently has a negative impact on the safety. In order to try and limit potential fatigue damage, you should try restricting small-bore piping to a safe distance from the compressor discharge. A detailed assessment of piping fatigue and vibrations may also be needed to prevent failure and ensure safe service.

Author Bio:

Drill Service  are a Horley-based cutting tool company that specialises in the manufacturing and sale of cutting tools, with their particular area of expertise being reamers. They boast over 50 years of experience within the construction and tool industry and offer over 1000 different specialised drill bits on their website.