Glycol Reclamation

Glycol Reclamation Safety Talk

Reclamation of glycol is a maintenance procedure designed to prolong the life of the glycol itself. This task involves filtering solids and removing hydrocarbons. As a result, hazardous conditions can be present. Hydrocarbons are potentially flammable, and solids found in glycol can cause irritation and damage to equipment. Increased pressure ratings are used for cleaning and can be harmful if released unexpectedly. Solutions and additives administered to the glycol can cause potential skin irritations.

This safety talk outlines general practices and precautions that can be utilized to reduce the risk of injuries and incidents.

Safety Measures for the Task Participants

  • All employees involved in the task should be properly trained and competent.
  • All employees involved in the task should participate in the pre-job meeting and job safety analysis (JSA).
  • Task participants should don the minimum personal protective equipment (PPE) of safety glasses, hard hats, and steel-toe boots.
  • Task participants should participate in a proper lockout/tagout procedure of the glycol unit being serviced.
  • All personnel in the immediate work area should be outfitted with personal monitors to offer an alert should a release of toxic gas or substance occur.

General Safe Work Practices

  • Pumps should be inspected and in good working condition to avoid mechanical failure and potential spills.
  • Properly rated hose and piping should be used to match the high pressure exhibited for turbulent flow.
  • Hose connections should be secured to avoid leaks and spills.
  • Pressure should be bled off prior to changing filters to avoid an unexpected pressure release.
  • Safety data sheets (SDS) must be reviewed and on location to assist in identifying components of the antifoam additive and other products used.
  • A pH analysis should be conducted to determine what product is needed to prevent the solution from becoming hazardous.
  • Neutralizing agents should be available at the job site should the substance become overly acidic.
  • Filtered solids should be collected into a DOT-approved drum and identified as solid waste disposal.
  • Hoses and connections should be inspected for deformities to avoid chemical exposure.
  • Additional PPE, such as chemical gloves, Tyvek suits, and face shields, can be used to prevent contact with hazardous chemicals.
  • A safe distance from equipment should be maintained to avoid an unexpected release of pressure.
  • Spill prevention equipment should be kept available.
  • Eyewash stations and emergency showers should be available to remove chemicals from anyone exposed.
  • Charged and properly rated fire extinguishers should be staged in the work area to be used in combatting possible fires. (Incipient stage fires only)


Glycol reclamation is a viable method of equipment maintenance but can easily result in injury or property damage incidents. Exercising proactive behaviors and adhering to safe work practices can protect individuals from injuries and incidents. Use stop work authority if conditions change or new hazards arise.

Members can download an ad-free version of this talk.

Discussion points:

1.      Why is an understanding of the pH scale important in glycol reclamation?


2.      What PPE should be used to avoid contact with harmful chemicals?


3.      What are other hazards to consider during glycol reclamation?

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