This is the time of year when the chimneys across a city or small town become more noticeable. As the temperatures drop and the smoke and steam hang heavy in the air, it is easy to pick out the smokestacks of all sizes on an early morning drive to work or early evening walk. And while these smoke stacks may not be noticeable year round to the average person, they serve an important role in the functionality of many industries, buildings, and warehouses.
As buildings become bigger and bigger there is an increase in not only the number of industrial chimneys, but also in the height of these smokestacks. In fact, according to studies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Government Accountability Office, there has been an increase in U.S. smokestacks taller than 500 feet in the last four years. Often times, whenever a new smokestack goes up, there is also a chimney demolition of an older tower that is no longer useful.
Finding a way to make sure that these chimney demolitions are both safe for the workers and the environment, however, is a complicated task. For instance, an industrial chimney demolition can contain many kinds of chemicals and past products that need to be contained during the demolition. An initial stack inspection can help determine what kinds of chemicals and hazards may be present, and also determine some of the specific procedures that most be followed when it comes to the time for the actual industrial chimney demolition.
Industrial Chimney Maintenance, Inspection and Demolition Require Careful Attention to a Number of Details
We live big lives, so it should not be surprising that there are a number of really big buildings and productions that go in to the lives that we live. From towering smokestacks at the places where are automobiles are manufactured to the just as high chimneys at the warehouses and production plants where the foods that we eat are. manufactured, the buildings that need to maintain our lifestyles dot the edge of many skylines throughout the nation.
Consider some of these facts and figures about the use of smokestacks and chimneys in America, as well as the maintenance and upkeep that is required when the are in use, and the methods that are used when they are no longer viable:
- A smokestack by the name of the Kennecott smelter was built in 1974 and is by far the tallest man-made structure in Utah at 1,215 feet tall and 177 feet across.
- Because of their height, smoke stacks must be lit so that they will always be visible to planes. Since the exhaust from a smoke stack can cover the lights, the lights must be installed five to ten feet below the top of the smoke stack. Owners can also floodlight the smoke stacks with fixed searchlight projectors.
- All new stacks should be accessed and inspected within one year after entering service to ensure anticipated performance under load.
- As more and more safety and maintenance regulations are put into place, there was an 80% reduction in workplace fatalities between the years 1971 and 2015.
- Standard procedures include full height interior and exterior hands on inspection should be completed every three years, and that binocular inspections of smokestacks should occur once a year.
- Atmospheric oxygen concentrations below that fall below 19.5% or above 23.5% are dangerous, or even fatal, so it is important to monitor the air and smoke that is escaping into th environment.
Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women. The group sets and enforces standards and provides training, outreach, education, and assistance. Finding a way to meet the big demands of the big lives that we all live is a large challenge that requires more and more manufacturing plants and warehouses. Everyone of these requires a new set of smoke stacks and chimneys. And in a world where more and more people are concerned about the environmental impact of the lives that we live, these smoke stacks require closer supervision and attention to overall performance.