IN northern Australia, heat and humidity present many challenges to the oil and gas industry. The mean maximum temperature in Darwin is over 31oC for ten months of the year and mean relative humidity is over 81% from January to March. Combined with heat from plant and process, and activities like confined space entry or welding, the northern climate makes for uncomfortable, unproductive and sometimes hazardous working conditions.

Heat-related Illness and Productivity

A common measure taken to control the risk of heat-related illness is to mandate frequent worker heat-rest breaks. While this may have some positive impact on worker well-being, it often has a large negative effect on productivity.

As an alternative, Safehouse has provided its portable AS/NZS 60079 and IECEx zone 1 compliant SafeCool Air-Conditioning Units (ACUs) to many projects to help combat the hazard of heat-related illness and the cost of unproductive time.

The SafeCool ACU’s Ex-certification, small footprint and integrated DNV offshore lifting frame make it well suited for providing cooling and dehumidification in all areas of oil and gas facilities including zone 1 and 2 hazardous areas. The ACUs can be used for work scopes involving confined space entry, hot work in pressurised SAFEHOUSE habitats, coatings application and work in extreme heat locations.

On a recent turnaround project near the trim coolers of an onshore LNG plant, SafeCool ACUs were combined with extreme-heat mitigation insulated habitats to reduce average air temperatures from 80oC to 24oC; protecting workers and maintaining productivity.