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AB

AB
The International Marine
Contractors Association

Protective Guarding of
Gas Cylinder Transport
Containers (Quads)

International Marine
Contractors Association

www.imca-int.com
www.imca-int.com

IMCA D 009
November 1996

AB

The International Marine Contractors Association


(IMCA) is the international trade association
representing offshore, marine and underwater
engineering companies.
IMCA promotes improvements in quality, health, safety,
environmental and technical standards through the publication
of information notes, codes of practice and by other
appropriate means.
Members are self-regulating through the adoption of IMCA
guidelines as appropriate. They commit to act as responsible
members by following relevant guidelines and being willing to be
audited against compliance with them by their clients.
There are two core activities that relate to all members:

Competence & Training

Safety, Environment & Legislation


The Association is organised through four distinct divisions,
each covering a specific area of members interests: Diving,
Marine, Offshore Survey, Remote Systems & ROV.
There are also four regional sections which facilitate work on
issues affecting members in their local geographic area
Asia-Pacific, Central & North America, Europe & Africa, Middle
East & India and South America.

www.imca-int.com/diving

The information contained herein is given for guidance only and endeavours to
reflect best industry practice. For the avoidance of doubt no legal liability shall
attach to any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained.

Introduction

Frameworks containing a number of permanently mounted gas cylinders, (normally called quads) have been
used in the offshore industry for many years to transport quantities of compressed gas to and from offshore
work sites. Such quads are generally robust and simple to handle.
Accidents have occurred, including a fatality, where one of the wire rope slings of the lifting set caught round
the valves fitted directly on the end of the cylinders. On occasions these valves have sheared off, releasing the
contents of the cylinder which could be at a pressure up to 300 Bar.
The purpose of this note is to give suitable guidance in relation to the protection of exposed valves, fittings and
pipework during transport or movement of the quad while retaining the ready access needed to the individual
cylinder valves during routine operations and in emergencies.

What is Covered

This document gives advice on suitable guarding to protect exposed valves, fittings and pipework on the quad
against:

fouling from lifting equipment.

It does not provide advice on guarding or other means of protecting against:

dropped objects from above;

lateral impacts from other items being lifted or moved;

sharp object penetration;

manual interference;

quads which have been wrongly placed or stacked on their sides or ends.

Operational Requirements

Ready access must be available at all times, both during operations and transport, to all gas cylinder valves and
connections to allow leaks to be isolated and controlled, as well as for routine opening and closing.
Any protective guarding fitted therefore must not interfere with this basic requirement. In particular hand
access will normally need to be available from the face that the valves are fitted on (i.e. the top or end) because
access in service may be limited to that face only.
However, if access can be guaranteed, both in service and during transport, to all valve handles by other means,
then access from that face need not be available.

Markings

There are various national and international standards and regulations concerning the colour coding, labelling
and marking of gas quads to clearly identify their contents. These will all need to be complied with and any
guarding should not obscure such markings.

Lifting Sling Sets

All gas quads should be fitted with their own permanent sling sets which should be correctly fitted to the
designated attachment points on the frame.
This sling set should be correctly designed, regularly tested, examined and certified to be in good condition.
Such sling set should comply with all relevant national and international standards and regulations.
This document assumes that the sling set is wire rope slings connected to a single common lifting point. If
chains, webbing straps, non-wire rope or other types of rigging are used then additional checks may be
necessary to ensure the valves, fittings and pipework are adequately guarded.
IMCA D 009

Types of Gas Cylinder Transport Container (Quad)

There are two basic configurations in common use:


Type 1 (Vertical Quads) Cylinders are mounted vertically in the frame. The valves, fittings and pipework
are all grouped together on the top face of the quad . Such quads typically contain 12 or 16 cylinders. (See
sketch 1)
Type 2 (Horizontal Quads) Cylinders are mounted horizontally in the frame. The valves, fittings and
pipework are all grouped together on one end face of the quad. Such quads typically contain 45, 48 or 64
cylinders. (See sketch 2)
Quads not falling into one of the above types should have a similar standard of guarding but this will have to be
considered on a case by case basis.

Recommendations

Type 1 (Vertical Quads)

As a minimum the top face should be covered with a robust lattice for protection.

There should be an opening between the elements of the lattice of a minimum 150mm x 150mm to allow
hand access to the valves, or alternatively free access to all valve handles must be available from the sides.

The maximum size of opening shall be such that a lifting sling when at its minimum bend radius, or any of
the attached links, cannot inadvertently pass through the lattice.

Type 2 (Horizontal Quads)

The top face of the quad should have solid or closely spaced robust lattice protection over all valves,
fittings and pipework. No hand access is required from this direction.

The front (valve) face and the side faces, (from the shoulder of the cylinders to the open end,) should have
protection for a distance from the top equivalent to the maximum distance that the lifting slings can hang
down over the side or end.

The lattice should have an opening between the element of a minimum 150mm x 150mm to allow hand
access. For the distance down from the top, equivalent to the distance that the lifting slings can hang
down, the maximum opening should be such that a lifting sling when at its minimum bend radius, or any of
the attached links, cannot inadvertently pass through.

Removable Covers

Suggestions have been made that removable or hinged solid covers could be provided for use during transit.
This is not considered safe for a number of reasons.

Quads are moved around on the decks of ships and installations for housekeeping purposes. If the transit
covers had been removed (which is very likely) then no guarding would be present.

Quads are often subject to rough handling in transit and are designed to be robust. Temporary covers
would be very prone to damage.

Temporary or removable covers could easily come loose during transport due to inadequate fastening or
physical damage. They would present a significant hazard if they fell off.

Emergency access to the valve handles is needed at all times in case of real or suspected leakage.

Design Standards

There are a number of national and international standards and regulations concerning the design and
manufacture of offshore containers which may apply to gas quads. These will need to be complied with in the
relevant areas of the world. (See Appendix 1 for UK and European Standards.)

IMCA D 009

Appendix I
Companies operating in the North Sea should be aware that certain specific standards exist which should be
complied with.
Listed below are the principal ones, but others may also apply.
UK Only
a)

The Road Traffic (Carriage of Dangerous Substances in Road Tankers and Tank Containers)
Regulations 1992 SI 743.

b)

Draft British Standard for Offshore Containers - "Design, Construction, Testing, Inspection and
Marking (PR EN 12079).

Europe
European Standard PR EN 12079.

IMCA D 009

Appendix II

Types of Gas Quad

IMCA D 009

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