8 Tips for Centrifugal Pump Safety

As you probably know, centrifugal pumps are one of the most commonly used industrial pumps around the world. Whether the pump is being used to move water, sewage, oil, or any other type of fluid, the mechanics are basically the same.

This style of pump is typically driven using some type of engine or electric motor. The motor is attached to a rotating axis which is used to drive the impeller inside the pump casing. Fluid enters the pump along the rotating axis and then comes in contact with the impeller. At this point the fluid is accelerated and begins moving radially outward to the diffuser where it is forced to exit the pump.

It goes without saying that when working with large and powerful industrial equipment, safety is a top priority. In order to avoid injury or equipment damage, we all must pay special attention when dealing with this type of machinery.

Today we are going to talk a little bit about centrifugal pump safety. This article is going to provide very useful tips to ensure that safety is the most important thing in your operations.

Not only is Engineered Systems & Products dedicated to providing top of the line equipment and service to its customers, but we also share safety as your top priority. Visit our About page to read a little more about the company and how we operate.

Now, let’s jump into these tips for centrifugal pump safety that you can start implementing today!

1.   Only Use Centrifugal Pumps for Their Intended Use

Similar to any other piece of equipment, centrifugal pumps were designed to perform specific tasks. That being said, they should not be used on operations outside of their designed capabilities. For example, if a pump is not designed to pump flammable or corrosive fluids then under no circumstances should you do so. There are quite a few negative consequences to doing something like this. The equipment manual will describe how the equipment should and shouldn’t be used.

2.   Ensure That the Equipment Operators Have Proper Training

This is extremely important because without proper training or knowledge of the equipment, the operators could be putting themselves or others in danger. It is also possible that damage could be done to the centrifugal pump itself or other equipment in the system. Warning labels should be in place to make others aware that they are not to work on or operate the equipment unless they have proper training.

3.   Enforce a PPE Policy to Protect the Workers

Even with the proper training, mistakes can still be made. Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense for someone working around industrial equipment. That is why it is crucial to make sure a PPE policy is in place and enforced. The standards will be specific to your equipment and operations but consider things like safety glasses, hearing protection, proper gloves, no loose or baggy clothing, and protective footwear.

4.   Implement a Routine Preventative Maintenance Program

This is crucial to centrifugal pump safety. Even the best and most reliable equipment requires service. Parts wear out and occasional failures happen from time to time. It is so important to perform routine maintenance on your equipment so you can catch and prevent these failures before they happen. You should check the motor to make sure it is operating efficiently and has the necessary fluids. It is also a good idea to take a look at the different pump components such as the casing and impeller blades to ensure everything is in good working order. The frequency of your preventative maintenance will vary depending on how often the pump is used and the type of use.

5.   Inspect the Suction and Discharge Lines

It is important to regularly check the suction line of your centrifugal pump for blockage. It is possible that debris enters the system and gets into the suction line or the suction hose could break down from the inside, causing a blockage. If you begin to see high vacuum and low discharge pressure then you may need to address a blockage in the suction line to keep the equipment safe. As your system ages, you may also experience problems with the discharge line of your pump. If the line itself or valves begin to corrode internally, you may experience reduced flow. Always keep an eye on both the suction end and discharge end of your pump to make sure it is operating safely and efficiently.

6.   Take 5 Minutes to Double Check the System Before Start Up

Before starting your equipment, you should always double check everything. Take a look to make sure valves are in the correct position, all safety guarding is in place, and there are no other visual issues. The small amount of extra time could prevent injuries or damage to equipment.

7.   Make the Instruction Manual Accessible for Easy Use

Having the instruction manual and other safety related material easily accessible is a must. If this paperwork is tucked away in an office somewhere, it will never be used. These documents are important to ensure proper installation, operation, and maintenance of the equipment. When equipment runs outside of the recommended specifications, there is the possibility of decreased efficiency and higher maintenance costs. Following these guidelines will also help you to keep the equipment running in the safest way possible.

8.   Use Caution and Be Aware of Your Surroundings

It may sound obvious, but always practice extreme caution around industrial centrifugal pumps and other equipment. Walk and move around the equipment slowly and carefully since there are many catch points and tripping hazards. Also maintain a safe distance from any machinery and have an escape route in mind in case an emergency situation arises. Train the workers to be aware of their surroundings and question things that look suspicious. It is always better to slow down and maintain the safety of your operations and employees. Finding a problem and shutting the operation down temporarily will save money in the long run and most importantly keep everyone in the area safe.

Safety is Number 1 for ESP

The ESP name has a reputation for offering high quality products at a competitive price backed by superior service. That being said, safety for our customers is our number one priority. Implementing these easy tips for centrifugal pump safety into your daily operations will provide a better work environment for all.