Working at an Industrial Construction Company? Be Sure to Follow These Safety Guidelines

Working at an Industrial Construction Company? Be Sure to Follow These Safety Guidelines

Safety is discussed frequently in the world of industrial construction because it’s a concern that’s top of mind. Due to the nature of construction work with heavy machinery, power tools, pressurized equipment, high and low temperatures, hazardous chemicals, and heavy, unsecured building materials, it’s an industry with one of the highest rates of workplace injury and death. Industrial construction companies owe it to their workers, as well as their clients and shareholders, to take safety seriously. 

Top 4 Safety Guidelines for Industrial Construction Companies

Here are four safety guidelines that industrial construction companies should absolutely follow to ensure a safe, healthy, and productive work environment.

1. Know the Law

This is less a guideline and more an absolute mandate: you must know the laws that apply to the work your company does. Workplace safety is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); the construction industry is regulated by OSHA Standard 1926. All aspects of the industry are regulated under this act — from more general rules on housekeeping and injury reporting to industry-specific rules on concrete construction and steel erection.

Keeping up to date on new regulatory requirements is crucial, and it’s not only the responsibility of an EHS Manager but all of company leadership. 

2. Foster a Safety Culture

“Safety culture” is a bit of a buzzword in the industry, but it’s not initially a clear-cut concept. Every workplace has a culture, comprised of the ways in which people do their work and interact with one another and the values that guide those actions. Culture can seem to just arise out of day-to-day work and the way things get done (or don’t), but it’s important to make safety one of the values that guide the actions of your entire team. 

In a safety culture, neither management nor employees consider taking risky shortcuts or violating inconvenient regulations, because that’s just not how they do business. No one resists or even just absently forgets to wear the necessary PPE. Why? Because the importance of performing work safely is emphasized not just in infrequent training sessions but every day on the job site, and not just by top leadership but by crew members at every level.

3. Get Everyone Involved

As mentioned previously, having buy-in from everyone in your organization — from the newest hire to the CEO — is essential to promoting a safety culture. In addition to comprehensive safety training and top-down commitment to safety, getting other team members involved is necessary not only to encourage safe work habits but to accurately evaluate and mitigate hazards and risks. 

Even the best managers and supervisors can only see and do so much. Workers who are working with hazards on a daily basis will have valuable insights on how to address those hazards and any obstacles they face in safely performing their duties.

4. Evaluate and Improve

Beyond the reporting obligations determined by OSHA, it’s crucial that industrial construction companies keep detailed records of their safety program’s performance. This includes not just injuries and incidents, but near misses and potential hazards that are caught before they could result in an incident and when changes to protocols are implemented. Tracking this information will allow you to review it and make necessary changes, including seeing patterns that might not otherwise be obvious.

Health and safety systems are never perfected, and there will be incidents and mistakes, so continuous improvement is possible. This is especially the case as regulations will evolve over time, and your company will need to implement and adapt to the new requirements. 

Our Commitment to Safety at PALA Interstate 

PALA Interstate ensures a safe project all around by adhering to the regulations and guidelines listed above alongside our own safety protocols. In the planning phase of our projects, we perform both a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and Pre-task Safety Analysis (PTSA). 

We’re also dedicated to fostering a safety culture, involving management and site staff. We perform industry, site, and PALA-specific safety training and orientation. Regular observations are performed on the worksite to ensure that safe work practices are being used, and we use the PII™ system for incident measurement, analysis, and feedback — because if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve on it.

Safety is at the heart of every project we take on; safety for people, facilities, and environments. For industrial construction and aboveground storage tank fabrication, installation, and repair, you can trust us to perform high-quality work with a safety mindset. Get in touch to learn more about how our work practices promote a safer worksite and results that will exceed your expectations.

Your Start-to-Finish Guide to the Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication Process

Your Start-to-Finish Guide to the Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication Process

If you work in the energy, agriculture, mining, water treatment, or industrial manufacturing fields, you’re well-acquainted with aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), as they are essential to your operations, for various storage and containment needs. ASTs hold fuel, water, fertilizer, food products, and more. 

How Are Aboveground Storage Tanks Fabricated? 

How are these important pieces of infrastructure constructed? Here’s what goes into the fabrication of an aboveground storage tank, from the beginning to the end of the process.

1. Design and Engineering

Storage tank engineering takes into account the unique needs of the application—the material to be contained, the required pressure and temperature, the storage duration, the types of containment needed, etc.—and the regulatory requirements to create a suitable tank design. 

Some Common Tank Designs

  • External floating roof tanks have a cylindrical shell and have a roof that is open, floating atop the fluid stored in it. These tanks are often used for petroleum and oil.


  • Domed external floating roof tanks are very similar to typical external floating roof tanks but feature a roof that has a lighter domed structure.


  • Internal floating roof tanks have a roof that is affixed to the tank shell, as well as a second, internal roof that floats atop the contained substance. These tanks are beneficial in extreme weather conditions.


  • Fixed roof tanks have a domed or cone-shaped roof that is permanently attached to the shell. These are used mainly for water storage.


  • Horizontal tanks are generally smaller and more portable than vertical ASTs and are designed to resist seepage.


  • Pressure vessels are designed to contain pressurized substances and contain specialized pressure equipment such as vapor reservoirs.


  • Variable vapor space tanks are spherical pressure vessels designed to maintain structural integrity under extremely high pressures. 

2. Foundation

Aboveground storage tank foundations are crucial for ensuring the optimal performance of the tanks and preventing containment issues. The right foundation for a tank depends on factors such as the soil condition, environmental conditions, size of the tank, tank application, and containment needs. Some AST foundation types include:

  • Concrete slab
  • Pile-supported
  • Concrete ring wall
  • Crushed stone ring wall
  • Wick drains with surcharging
  • Stone columns
  • Compacted soil 

3. Fabrication

Aboveground storage tanks are generally fabricated in fabrication shops, workspaces designed especially to meet the space requirements of fabricating large metal components for tanks. Such a space will have several acres of laydown space, as well as heavy equipment like cranes and welders. Here, skilled technicians take the specifications from the design engineers and translate them into the components of the AST.

The material a storage tank is fabricated from is dependent on several factors, including the application, tank environment, and project budget. Some common tank materials include:

  • Various grades of stainless steel
  • Various grades of carbon steel
  • Duplex stainless 

4. Installation

Once an aboveground storage tank is fabricated and the site is prepared, it’s time for installation. This can be as simple as unloading the fully assembled AST onto the prepared foundation on the site (if the tank is small enough); it can also mean delivery of the tank components to the site, to be assembled on-location by an experienced installation crew (large ASTs).

5. Evaluation and Certification

Once a tank has been installed, it must be evaluated and certified before it can be put into use. Due to the nature of many substances stored in ASTs, which can be hazards to environmental or human health and are often valuable substances, critical to the operations of an organization, ensuring that the vessel is fit for service and meets all applicable standards and regulations is necessary before it can be put into service.

What Codes and Standards Apply to Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication? 

The primary standards that apply to AST fabrication are API 620 and API 650. API 650 pertains to tanks (of varying sizes) designed for withstanding higher temperatures at minimal pressure, and API 620 pertains to large, lower-temperature, pressurized storage tanks. 

Other codes and regulations, such as the NBIC and ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code inform the inspection, maintenance, and repairs of aboveground storage tanks and pressure vessels.

Contact PALA for Aboveground Storage Tank Fabrication 

PALA Interstate has tank fabrication facilities in Baton Rouge and Hammond, Louisiana, that can accommodate your storage tank fabrication needs. We work with a variety of alloys, from stainless steel and titanium to Iconel and Haynes alloys, and we can fabricate storage tanks to meet API 650 and 620 standards. 

If you have aboveground tanks in need of inspection, maintenance, or repair, PALA is also your source. We offer comprehensive tank maintenance programs, in-shop and on-site repair services, and even 3D Laser Scanning for tank analysis and inspection.

4 Common Pressure Vessel Repair Services

4 Common Pressure Vessel Repair Services

When an ASME Code Stamped Pressure Vessel is built, it is fabricated to the specifications of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code. Repairs, however, are covered by the National Board Inspection Code, commonly referred to as the NBIC. 

Common Pressure Vessel Repairs

Some of the most common types of repairs to pressure vessels that are covered by the NBIC include: 

  • Failed and corroded weld repairs
  • Nozzle replacement and installation
  • Heat exchanger tube repair or replacement
  • Mounting clips for ladders and other externally mounted components

1. Weld Repairs

Anywhere there’s a joint, there’s a potential weakness in your pressure vessel. Especially in pressure differentials, welds can fail under stress. There are many causes of weld failure, some occurring in production, such as porosity in the weld or the inclusion of slag. Others — namely corrosion — occur over long stretches of time, as the weld is exposed to the elements and gradually corrodes, eventually causing cracks and other issues. 

2. Nozzle Replacement and Installation

Nozzles on pressure vessels see a lot of use, and as such, they comprise a common type of pressure vessel repair. Nozzles can wear out over time, and their components can become degraded, sparking a need for replacement. Additionally, installing new nozzles when the need arises is common and also falls under the NBIC. Technology can change over the lifespan of a pressure vessel (which can be over 20 years), and replacing older nozzle designs with new, more efficient ones can be a repair well worth making.

3. Heat Exchanger Tube Repair or Replacement

Graphite heat exchangers on pressure vessels can require a variety of tube repair services, as tubes and tube sheets can take a variety of damage: corrosion of the tube or sheet end, cracking, joint failure, excessive loads, and vibration damage or weakening of the tube materials. When these kinds of issues occur, tubes and tube sheets can be totally replaced or repaired by means such as plugging the damaged tubes or with welding or adhesives.

4. Mounting Clips for Ladders

Working on and around pressure vessels carries some inherent risk. For cases when ladders must be installed on pressure vessels for access to gauges or making repairs, mounting clips are to be installed according to the code, in order to prevent damage to the vessel itself and ensure adequate, ergonomic access to necessary components of the equipment for technicians.

Any repairs or additions that require welding non-pressurized components to pressurized components or boundary components of the vessel fall under the NBIC, and require special care to guarantee the soundness of the weld and avoid compromising the vessel’s ability to maintain the pressurized environment.

Inspecting for Necessary Repairs

Because pressure vessels are pressurized and contain sensitive materials, keeping up with maintenance and repairs is critical. To know when repairs are needed, reduce downtime, and keep your pressure vessel operational, you should have a regular inspection program. 

Pressure vessels should be inspected at least every five years to check for these commonly needed repairs, if not more frequently, depending on the code to which your vessel needs to adhere.

Who Performs Pressure Vessel Repair Services?

The NBIC clearly defines who is and who is not authorized to conduct repairs that fall under the code, like fortifying corroded welds. To perform repairs governed by the code, repair shops must be certified by the National Board to use the proprietary R-stamp. This certification ensures the qualification of the servicer to meet the necessary design, materials, and quality standards of the code.

When you need NBIC-compliant pressure vessel repairs, call PALA. We are certified to use the NBIC R-stamp, and can perform all repairs governed by Part 3, Section 3 of the National Board Inspection Code. We fabricate and service a variety of pressure vessels, including ASME Div. 1 and 2 code vessels, API 650 and API 620 tanks, and Section VIII pressure parts. We not only hold the NBIC R-stamp accreditation, but also accreditation for U-, U2-, and S-stamps. 

Important Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations to Understand

Important Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations to Understand

Aboveground storage tanks are designed to hold a variety of liquid or gaseous substances in bulk quantities, many of which are harmful to people, facilities, and/or ecosystems. To ensure safety for all, multiple agencies have established regulations specific to the design, build, and operation of aboveground storage tanks. 

Below, we’ll take a look at the most important aboveground storage tank regulations to understand. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations — An Overview

There are hundreds of regulations out there related to aboveground storage tanks, about anything from design and build to inspection and maintenance. Since these structures often store hazardous materials (and lots of them), various agencies have joined the discussion and implemented guidelines around their use. 

Here’s a list of some of the most prominent organizations that have created their own set of aboveground storage tank regulations. You can click on each to jump to their description in this article. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations by the EPA

If your facility has aboveground storage tanks that hold an oil of any kind, it may be subject to the EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulation: 40 CFR Part 112. While this regulation doesn’t specifically mention the term “aboveground storage tank,” it includes that term under the broader category of bulk storage containers. 

SPCC helps prevent a discharge of oil from running into navigable waters or shorelines. It also ensures that every aboveground storage tank facility has a comprehensive response plan that prepares them in case of a spill emergency. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations by Local Governments

Aside from regulations established by the federal government (EPA), your local government and authorizing agencies may also have their own set of standards to follow. These will likely match federal regulations to an extent, but also have some more standards specific to the area and environment in which your facility is located. 

This way, if your local environment is at risk of any specific threats or challenges, you and the people around you can be assured that you’re aware of them and have prepared for them properly. 

Aboveground Storage Tank Regulations by Industry-Specific Agencies

There are a few industry-specific agencies that have created their own aboveground storage tank regulations based on their experience and expertise. 

American Petroleum Institute (API)

API standards are specific to aboveground storage tanks that hold oil. There are three that are most applicable: 

  • API 620: tanks under pressure that are field-erected or repaired
  • API 650: new tank construction
  • API 653: tank repairs

Wondering how API 620 and API 650 differ, and which may be best suited for your application? Read this blog

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

ASME’s standards regulate the design, fabrication, and repair of aboveground storage tanks. Most importantly, they look closely at shop-fabricated tanks to ensure manufacturing processes and protocols are on track with best practices. This helps to ensure high-quality results, long-lasting solutions, and safety for all involved.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

The NFPA regulates any aboveground storage tanks holding flammable liquids. They require that tanks are manufactured in compliance with the following standards: 

  • UL 142: tanks that store non-corrosive, stable flammable and combustible liquids with a specific gravity no greater than 1.0.
  • UL 2085: tanks that must meet additional, specific design requirements to ensure a two-hour fire resistance and a secondary containment solution.

How Do I Know Which Regulations Apply to My Facility? 

After reading through those aboveground storage tank regulations, you might wonder if they all apply to your facility or not. There are a few ways to find out. 

First, you could conduct your own research by reading articles online, buying standards books, etc. This might also include asking colleagues that may have a better understanding of technical regulations. 

Or, possibly a better option is to talk to an aboveground storage tank manufacturer in your area. They’ll be up to date on all the regulations, and how they’d apply to your location and project. Then, they can help you complete the project by designing, building, and maintaining an aboveground storage tank solution ideal for your application. 

For Guaranteed Quality & Compliance, Choose PALA. 

To ensure the safety of your people, facility, and environment, you must comply with the aboveground storage tank regulations in this article. At PALA, we can help you design, fabricate, and install an aboveground storage tank solution that complies, then maintain it, so it stays that way. For more information, don’t hesitate to give our team a call or contact us online. 

PALA Group Celebrates 50th Anniversary

PALA Group Celebrates 50th Anniversary

BATON ROUGE, Feb. 2023 — This year, PALA Group is celebrating its 50th anniversary of delivering turnkey industrial construction solutions. While based in the Gulf Coast region, PALA has served clients across the United States with the highest level of service, safety, and quality — now for over five decades. 

PALA was founded in 1973 by Rick Tarajano, an industrial contractor working for the Louisiana sugar industry. His focus on mechanical piping and equipment installations made it a natural fit to move into other industries like pulp and paper, refining, and petrochemicals throughout the 1970s. 

In 1987, PALA formed its aboveground storage tank and ASME vessel operations. This division continued growing throughout the 1990s, securing contracts for small capital projects and tank farm maintenance with some of the Gulf Coast’s largest facilities. 

In 2008, PALA became an employee-owned company (ESOP) via acquisition from the original founding Tarajano family. Since then, the business has further expanded and diversified its service offerings, including: 

  • US FUSION & Specialty Construction (2017): A subsidiary providing services complementary to PALA’s, including installing plastic pipe, concrete embed liners, and various erosion control systems.

US Fusion

  • ARCCO Power Systems (2021): A subsidiary specializing in the sale, service, and rental of new and used generators ranging from 10kW to 3.5MW — offerings that are particularly useful in emergency response and disaster recovery situations.

arcco power systems

  • SMART Safety Group (2012): A company founded by PALA to help contractors and manufacturers in their quest to protect their most valued asset — their employees.

smart safety group

  • Elite Helical Solutions (2021): A subsidiary providing specialized helical piles as a deep foundation solution for industrial, mid-stream, and commercial building markets across the Gulf Coast.

Elite Helical

“PALA has evolved into a group of growing companies that relentlessly focuses on delivering the best possible service to our customers and creating value for our group of employee-owners,” said Scott Barringer, PALA CEO. “I’m proud to look back at our humble beginnings in the sugar mills of Louisiana and see how far we’ve come in 50 years.”