Can Insulation Covers Improve OSHA Compliance?

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is, in no way, intended to be a substitute for legal advice.

Insulation covers are used to protect workers in hot and cold environments such as refrigeration units, boilers, furnaces, and air compressors. They help keep employees comfortable while working in extreme temperatures.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), however, does not regulate the use of insulation covers. Instead, it focuses on ensuring that workplaces are free from hazards. This includes proper training and supervision of workers, adequate ventilation, and the availability of protective equipment.

Here are 4 ways that insulation covers may improve compliance with OSHA regulations.

Reducing Noise

OSHA requires employers to take steps to protect workers from excessive occupational noise. This includes providing adequate hearing protection, training employees about how to use the appropriate devices, and implementing engineering controls to reduce noise at the source. Whenever feasible, OSHA suggests reducing noise at the source. This typically involves installing sound-absorbing materials or enclosing noisy machinery in acoustical barriers. This practice is commonly known as sound attenuation or acoustic attenuation.

When noise originates from equipment, it may be possible to install removable insulation. This absorbs some of the energy generated by machines and converts it into heat.

Eliminating Wet Floors from Condensation

Condensation occurs when there is a difference in temperature between hot and cold surfaces. This causes moisture to form on cooler surfaces and drip down onto the floor. When it does, it creates a hazard because it could lead to slips and falls. OSHA requires that floors be kept dry. In many cases, this rule is easy to follow. However, sometimes condensation can occur without you knowing about it.

For example, when there is a difference between cold water pipe temperature and air temperature, condensation forms. If this happens, the droplets fall onto the floor. Insulation jackets for cold pipes eliminate condensation to help keep things dry.

Replacing Potentially Harmful Insulation

One insulation material that is subject to OSHA regulations is asbestos. OSHA requires employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) whenever there is a risk of being exposed to hazardous substances. Workers must adhere to strict protocol when working around asbestos. They must also wear gloves and eye protection when handling asbestos-containing material.

Two common areas that OSHA says may contain asbestos are “pipe and boiler insulation materials.” If your insulation is made of asbestos-containing materials, it may be necessary to replace it with a safer option.

Reducing Exposure to Hot Pipes

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration does not actually have a separate regulation in its general industry standard (rules which apply to all workplaces subject to the agency’s rules) that specifically regulates when exposed hot pipes need to be protected. However, OSHA has issued a letter of interpretation stating that it considers exposed heated surfaces, if they are potentially dangerous, to be a safety violation. This includes exposed heated surfaces that could cause burns to workers’ hands, arms, legs, etc.

In that interpretation, OSHA cited two standards, one governing the textile industry and another covering pulp, paper, and related products. Both state that “All pipes carrying steam or hot water for process or servicing machinery must be covered with a heat insulator,” according to the letter. The letter notes that both standards define “hot water” as being over 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Fit Tight Covers’ unique fabrication process is based on 25 years of testing and development, resulting in the best-designed removable insulation covers utilizing the best materials. If you’re interested in learning more about custom removable thermal insulation covers, request a quote today!

6 Best Reasons to Switch to Removable Insulation Covers

Control valves, steam traps, pipe joints, and other pieces of equipment found in heating and cooling systems are often vital to a building’s ongoing operations. These components must be accessible for routine maintenance, but traditional hard insulation can make this difficult. This issue becomes even worse when dealing with large commercial buildings, where space constraints are common.

Removable insulation covers allow for easy access to these important parts while offering heat retention, personnel protection, and preventing moisture intrusion. They are designed to fit over existing piping systems, making installation straightforward. After removal, the covers can easily be reinstalled, allowing technicians to work on different areas without having to worry about damaging exposed metal.

The benefits of using removable insulation covers extend beyond just saving time and effort. Using NAIMA’s free 3E Plus software, we have shown that insulating one foot of 4” steam pipe operating at 350°F with a 1” thick removable cover can reduce heat loss and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 95%. 

Here are 6 of the best reasons to switch to removable insulation covers: 

Save Energy Immediately

By insulating your equipment sooner rather than later, you’re saving your business from unnecessary losses in heat. In the long run, this will help reduce energy costs allowing you to put those assets toward other projects.

Make Maintenance Easy

If you detect any issues with your equipment, it’s important to remedy the problem right away. Removable insulation covers allow for extremely easy maintenance and inspections. Our covers can be removed quickly and easily, which saves you money and manpower. Once repairs & inspections are complete, it’s easy to reinstall the covers to their original place.

Improve Your Work Environment

OSHA safety violations are a serious matter. By protecting your high-temperature pipes and equipment with proper insulation covers, you are protecting your employees from possible skin damage and other harm.

Prevent Waste

Traditional hardcover insulation can be a hassle to remove or replace. If you’re trying to perform inspections or maintenance on equipment covered with hard insulation, you must replace the insulation after it’s removed. This causes unnecessary waste that can be easily avoided with the purchase of removable insulation.

Extend the Life of Your Equipment

Accidents happen in a working environment, so it’s important to protect your piping and valves to ensure the longevity of your equipment. Removable insulation covers can also protect against outdoor elements. 

Save Money in the Short-Term & Long-Term

Whether you’re lowering the amount of waste your company is producing or reducing the amount of heat your equipment emits, you’re saving money. Having more money to work with as a company is vital to continued success. Removable insulation covers can put you on a path one step closer to this.

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Fit Tight Covers’ unique fabrication process is based on 25 years of testing and development, resulting in the best-designed removable insulation covers utilizing the best materials. If you’re interested in learning more about custom removable thermal insulation covers, request a quote today!

 

6 Tips on Caring For Removable Insulation Blankets

While our product has been known by many names over the years- covers, blankets, diapers, wraps, bags- one thing for certain is that consistent care is key to extending the life of your removable insulation covers. Our covers are custom-made to fit your equipment precisely and to withstand wet or dry conditions.

While our covers are crafted to last, there are a few things you can do to ensure they last even longer. Here are 5 tips to help you keep your removable insulation covers performing their best!

Be careful not to cut or damage the outer protective cover fabrics

Maintaining the integrity of the outer surface of your removable insulation cover is paramount. You want to ensure that there are no punctures or cuts that can allow moisture, heat, chemicals, or oils to saturate the insulation and compromise the efficiency of your removable cover.

Ensure they are installed correctly every time

Properly installing each insulation cover is the simplest method of caring for them. A snug fit prevents condensation, protects your team, and protects your equipment. Ensure that all Velcro flaps and rope ties fully cover any & all space between blankets.

Store the covers in clean, dry areas

When your covers aren’t in use, the storage location is also important. Be sure to store your insulation covers in a clean, dry location. This prevents foreign elements from coming into contact with your covers (and your equipment when you re-install them).

Don’t use force when installing

In addition to proper fitting, it’s equally important to avoid using too much force when installing your insulation covers. They are designed to fit snugly onto the equipment, but if you use too much force during installation you may accidentally damage them.

Avoid moisture and clean off spills promptly

If your insulation covers get wet or exposed to a spill, clean them immediately. The specially designed fabrics used in our covers are made to withstand environmental elements and spills, but if liquid penetrates the seams, it could cause the covers to be less effective. Oil or chemical spills can damage the exterior of the removable covers, negatively impacting their integrity and putting your equipment at risk.

Inspect them regularly

Your removable insulation cover care routine should include a regular schedule of inspection when in use and in storage. When you remove your insulation covers, visually inspect them for signs of damage before storing them away or re-installing them.

Get Started Today

Fit Tight Covers’ unique fabrication process is based on 25 years of testing and development, resulting in the best-designed removable insulation covers utilizing the best materials. If you’re interested in learning more about custom removable thermal insulation covers, request a quote today!

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Fit Tight Covers Opens New Headquarters

New Headquarters Ribbon Cutting

Fit Tight Covers unveiled their new headquarters with a ribbon cutting, in coordination with the Southwest Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The headquarters, located at 1200 N Willow Road Suite 100, is a $2 million dollar investment into the community and the workspace of 20 employees. Now with 27,000 square feet of dedicated office and fabrication space, the company expects to hire and train more skilled employees to serve customers all over the United States.

On hand for the ribbon cutting was Calvin Brasel, General Manager; Joe Mlachak, National Sales Manager; Chamber of Commerce associates; and the entire Fit Tight Covers crew, including designers, field service representatives, and sewers.

Calvin Brasel, General Manager, stated: “We are proud of Fit Tight’s continuing commitment to high quality covers and excellent service. Our new facility gives our employees a better place to work and allows us to better serve our customers.” Tours of the new facility and refreshments were provided to those in attendance.


Founded in 2013, Fit Tight Covers designs and fabricates removable and reusable insulation covers for industrial and commercial mechanical systems and equipment. Our company is noted for custom-designing every cover for every customer – nationwide and beyond.

To learn more about our company, please visit our Contact page.

Insulation Covers Key to Sustainability in Recycling Facilities

Insulation Covers Key to Sustainability in Recycling Facilities

Plastics renewal facilities are a growing trend in U.S. new construction as energy companies redirect extensive amounts of plastic waste for conversion to diesel fuel, blend stocks, and wax. Some of the most critical equipment at these innovative recycling facilities are the hundreds of reactors, all of which operate outdoors and at very high temperatures (850°F to 1000°F +) throughout all four seasons.

To maintain temperatures and efficiently operate, these facilities must insulate the reactors, but also be able to access the equipment regularly, which is a limitation of conventional insulation. Fit Tight Covers (FTC) is meeting the needs of customers in this industry by designing and fabricating fully custom, removable, and reusable insulation systems for the reactor heads. To ensure proper fit, FTC field representatives visit facilities to measure equipment, analyze temperature, and examine the unique environmental constraints. Measurements and notes are then brought back to headquarters in Evansville, Indiana. The fabrication process begins with the FTC CAD design team and ends with a quality check prior to shipment.

“A well-fitted cover is critical for temperature control and energy conservation, especially in high-temp industrial applications,” emphasizes Calvin Brasel, General Manager at Fit Tight Covers. “With Certified Energy Appraisals, we have documented the effectiveness of custom FTC covers, as well as, the high levels of energy loss in unfitted generic covers.” By custom-engineering every cover and using time-tested materials, FTC’s insulation covers meet and exceed specifications across the energy sector and ensure effectiveness and reliability of essential processing equipment.


Insulation CoversNotes about the design:

  • Cold face fabric is a Teflon impregnated fiberglass fabric which FTC reinforced with stainless steel mesh.
  • Two different types of insulation were used due to different operant temperature zones on the reactors. For the zones near the burner, 2” Insulfrax was used due to temperatures above 1000°F.  For the cooler zones that only saw temps in the 850°F range, 2 layers of 1” temp-mat we’re best.
  • The hot face fabric utilized was an 18 oz. satin weave silica fabric. This was reinforced with Inconel mesh in the burner regions and stainless-steel mesh in the other areas.

 

 


Insulation Covers 2 Fit tight covers

The primary concern was durability and longevity for the reactor head insulation. After extensive testing on reactor #1 was complete the customer was confident FTC had found the solution and placed the order for the remaining reactors. The reactor heads and trim comprised at this one location required 2100 hours of production in the Fit Tight Covers shop. 

Energy Savings Revealed for AstraZeneca

energy savings Certified Insulation Energy AppraiserEnergy Savings Revealed for AstraZeneca

Fit Tight Covers recently helped one of their pharmaceutical customers realize potential savings with a Certified Insulation Energy Appraisal. This specialty service, offered by FTC, differs from an energy audit, which only reports on the current state of mechanical systems and equipment. An energy appraisal goes much further and demonstrates how insulation upgrades reduce operating expenses through energy savings.

The insulation upgrade recommendations at AstraZeneca came in the form of both conventional insulation and removable insulation. However, the majority of improvement opportunities were identified in areas where removable insulation was ideal. At large pharmaceutical plants there are components of a mechanical system necessary to access for routine maintenance and calibration: valves, pumps, filters, flow meters, strainers, heat exchangers, etc. Often times maintenance personnel will take off conventional (or permanent) insulation in these areas to conduct their business and then leave equipment uninsulated when finished. These gaps in the insulation system are a huge opportunity to reduce energy usage and enable systems to operate more efficiently, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

With a removable insulation cover maintenance personnel are inclined to re-seal the insulation system because you can remove and reuse the insulation pad very easily and in a timely manner. Mechanical engineers design systems to be completely insulated and any exposed piping or equipment at a plant is an opportunity to save money and reduce carbon emissions.

Fit Tight Covers has 5 certified energy appraisers on staff. They are trained through a reputable third-party organization – NIA (National Insulation Association). The appraisal includes an onsite walk-through, personnel interviews, data collection, BTu loss calculations, thermal imaging, and a report detailing current state, proposed insulation upgrades, and payback period with potential energy savings. 

Visit our Energy Appraisal page and contact us to learn more about this service.

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Energy Appraisal Infrared