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Reactor and pressure vessels are pieces of equipment that pressurize chemicals at high temperatures to result in a processed reaction. UK has a variety of these vessels from low to high hazards. Please review the information below to gain knowledge on the safety practices when working with pressurized vessels. Below are the common types of pressure vessels on UK campuses:

  • Reactors
  • Vacuum Chambers
  • Autoclaves
  • Air Compressors

Please contact Occupational Health & Safety if your laboratory has acquired any pressurized vessels that has not yet been reviewed.

Standards Below are various standards that outlines pressurized vessel's operation and safety

  • Kentucky Law - 815 KAR Chapter 15 Provisions
  • American Standards for Mechanical Engineering (ASME) Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code
  • ASME Safety Standard for Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy

Please follow the most recent ASME editions, no earlier than 2013.


Safety Expectations

Operating any kind of pressure vessel should be taken with careful consideration. The principle investigator of the lab space with the pressure vessel MUST provide a specific training periodically to anyone who may use the reactor or enter the room while the vessel is active.

All pressure vessels MUST have written standard operation of procedures (SOPs) and safety data sheets (SDS). Please contact Research Safety for more information on development of these documents.

When active, the pressure vessel MUST be inside a fume hood, to ventilate escaped gases.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are the following, but not limited to:

  • Impact-rated safety glasses
  • Chemically compatible safety gloves
  • Fully-covered clothing
  • Flame-resistant laboratory coat
  • Closed-toed shoes

Please review the standards above to verify your compliance status. Contact OHS for questions and concerns.

Operating A High-Pressure Reactor Vessel

Please watch this video to gain knowledge regarding the safety precautions for Operating a High-Pressure Reactor Vessel.