Safety Tips When Cleaning Molasses Storage Tanks

Industrial & Manufacturing Blog

Molasses tanks come in different shapes and sizes as well as constituent materials. Whichever type of tank you have in your average-sized mill, cleaning the container is a critical part of producing quality molasses. However, there have been cases of accidents and even death of staff during molasses tank cleaning exercises. While the nature of molasses is harmless, subtle aspects might pose a significant danger to cleaning staff. Tips provided in this article highlight ways your team can improve safety when cleaning molasses storage tanks.

Check for Signs of Water in the Tank -- As mentioned earlier, molasses is not harmful in its purest form. Therefore, cleaning a tank that stored uncontaminated molasses should not worry your staff at all. However, the problem comes when water finds its way into an empty tank. If the remaining molasses mixes with water, fermentation process will be triggered and give off carbon dioxide, which can cause asphyxiation to cleaners. Additionally, ethanol is a by-product of the fermentation process, and it is highly flammable. Ethanol can cause severe accidents for cleaners through fire incidences. Therefore, before any cleaning starts, make sure that cleaners conduct a thorough examination of the entire tank to make sure that water has not leaked in.

Avoid Cleaning on Hot Days -- Ideally, stored molasses is highly viscous. However, a rise in temperatures reduces its viscosity, making the compound run. It is for this reason that your staff should avoid cleaning molasses tank when temperatures are soaring. When runny molasses remains in a tank, it becomes easy for one to slip, fall and get injured. The best way to avoid the effect of increased temperatures is to install tanks inside milling facilities. If you are forced to install them outside for space reasons, then workers should only clean the tanks on cold days.

Tank Aeration -- If water finds its way into a molasses tank for one reason or another, then it is recommended that the tank is kept open for a specific period before allowing cleaners to go in to do their job. This allows oxygen to enter the storage tank, thereby stopping any ongoing fermentation process and eventually mitigating the production of carbon dioxide and ethanol. Most importantly, your staff should only start cleaning the tanks after making sure that enough oxygen has been allowed into the containers. Special gadgets can be used to measure oxygen levels for safety reasons.


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