RAGAGEP: Codes, Standards, and Good Engineering Practices (Part 2)

January 23rd, 2018 | , , ,

Peter Thomas, P.E. recently wrote a technical paper and presented at the 2017 RETA National Conference on the topic of RAGAGEP: Codes, Standards, and Good Engineering Practices. This is the second in a series of blogs which include excerpts from his technical paper. Part 1 is available here.

Ammonia Refrigeration RAGAGEP

Not every document is considered RAGAGEP. Generally, a published document must be widely adopted (e.g. model codes) or developed through a consensus process to receive RAGAGEP status. OSHA issued an internal memorandum on May 11, 2016 regarding “RAGAGEP in Process Safety Management”. In the memorandum, OSHA provides the following four examples of RAGAGEP:

  1. Widely adopted codes
    Certain consensus standards have been widely adopted by federal, state, or municipal jurisdictions. For example, many state and municipal building and other codes incorporate or adopt codes such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101 Life Safetyand NFPA 70 National Electric
  2. Consensus documents
    Certain organizations like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) follow the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards(Essential Requirements) when developing consensus standards and recommended practices. Under the ANSI and similar requirements, these organizations must demonstrate that they have diverse and broadly representative committee memberships. Examples of consensus documents include the ASME B31.3 Process Piping Code and the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration’s (IIAR) ANSI/IIAR 2-2008 — Equipment, Design, and Installation of Closed-Circuit Ammonia Mechanical Refrigerating Systems. Such consensus documents are widely used as sources of RAGAGEP by those knowledgeable in the industry.
  3. Non-consensus documents
    Some industries develop non-consensus engineering documents using processes not conforming to ANSI’s Essential Requirements. Where applicable, the practices described in these documents can be widely accepted as good practices. For example, the Chlorine Institute’s (CI) “pamphlets” focus on chlorine and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) safety and are used by some companies handling these materials. Note that OSHA also recognizes applicable manufacturer’s recommendations as potential sources of RAGAGEP.
  4. Internal standards
    The preamble to the PSM standard recognizes that employers may develop internal standards for use within their facilities. The preamble states, in relevant part:

The phrase suggested by rulemaking participants: “recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices” is consistent with OSHA’s intent. The Agency also believes that this phrase would include appropriate internal standards of a facility…

RAGAGEP Organizations

There are numerous organizations which publish RAGAGEP documents which impact the ammonia refrigeration industry. The following is a summary of the key organizations:

International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR)

Founded in 1971, IIAR is the primary RAGAGEP organization for the ammonia refrigeration industry. The vision and mission of IIAR, as published on the IIAR website are:

  • Our Vision is to be globally recognized as the leading advocate for the safe, reliable and efficient use of ammonia and other natural refrigerants.
  • Our Mission is to provide advocacy, education, and standards for the benefit of the global community in the safe and sustainable design, installation and operation of ammonia and other natural refrigerant systems.

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers)

ASHRAE was founded in 1894 and is the leading global organization that supports the larger HVAC&R industry. ASHRAE standards address a wide variety of topics including: Energy efficiency, building systems, indoor air quality, refrigeration, ventilation, and sustainability. The vision and mission of ASHRAE are:

  • Vision: ASHRAE will be the global leader, the foremost source of technical and educational information, and the primary provider of opportunity for professional growth in the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating.
  • Mission: To advance the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

ASME was founded in 1880 as a society of machine builders working together to address concerns of accelerating mechanization during the industrial revolution. Today, ASME has more than 130,000 members in 151 countries and publishes standards that address: Boilers, pressure vessels, process piping, welding, and heat exchangers. ASME’s mission statement is:

  • Mission Statement: To serve diverse global communities by advancing, disseminating and applying engineering knowledge for improving the quality of life; and communicating the excitement of engineering.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

ANSI oversees the creation of thousands of documents in nearly every sector of American life. The term “ANSI” has come to represent conformity and credibility when included in the title of a document. ANSI’s mission is:

  • Mission: To enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.

International Code Council (ICC)

ICC is an association dedicated to developing model codes. ICC codes have been adopted by most U.S communities as the required minimum practice for new construction. ICC is committed to the following:

  • Vision: Protect the health, safety and welfare of people by creating safe buildings and communities.
  • Mission: To provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Operators (IAPMO)

IAPMO is dedicated to the development of model plumbing and mechanical codes. Widely adopted in the Western U.S., IAPMO’s influence is very important, as summarized in their own stated organizational goals:

  • The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials shall be recognized by the building industry and the general public, both at home and abroad, as the world-wide leader in the plumbing and mechanical industry for:
    • protecting health and safety
    • supporting sustainability and emerging technology
    • and delivering code education.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

NFPA was established in 1896 and is committed to the reduction in damage caused by fire and electrical hazards. NFPA publishes hundreds of documents including the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70), Fire Code (NFPA 1), and Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code (NFPA 30). NFPA’s website succinctly describes the organization as:

  • NFPA is widely known as a codes and standards organization – that’s the backbone of what we do, and it always will be. Our mission is to provide you with the information and knowledge you need to do your job well in today’s ever-changing environment. Our 300 codes and standards are designed to minimize the risk and effects of fire by establishing criteria for building, processing, design, service, and installation around the world.

International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA)

For more than 75 years, ISEA has been developing documents which have set the standard for personal protective technologies. ISEA’s mission and vision are:

  • ISEA Mission: The mission of the International Safety Equipment Association is to support and promote the common business interests of its member companies. ISEA members are united in the goal of protecting the health and safety of people worldwide exposed to hazardous and potentially harmful environments.
  • ISEA Vision: To be the preeminent thought leader and unite the safety equipment industry worldwide through knowledge, networking and advocacy.

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