You are on page 1of 3


Last updated date:


March 18, 2016

What is a Lethal Service?
ASME Section-8 Div-1 has two similar definitions for Lethal Services
o UW-2 (a): “When a vessel is to contain fluids of such a nature that a very small amount mixed or unmixed
with air is dangerous to life when inhaled”
o End note-65: “lethal substances are meant poisonous gases or liquids of such a nature that a very small
amount of the gas or of the vapour of the liquid mixed or unmixed with air is dangerous to life when inhaled.
For purposes of this Division, this class includes substances of this nature which are stored under pressure or
may generate a pressure if stored in a closed vessel”
How to determine if the service is Lethal?
It is up to the end user to determine if a service is lethal, based on the user’s experience and criticality of the services as
per the above definition. The code does not specify any criteria to determine lethal services. Below are few references
from the code:
o UW-2(a): “it shall be the responsibility of the user and/or his designated agent to determine if it is lethal. If
determined as lethal, the user and/or his designated agent shall so advise the designer and/or
o Appendix NN Table NN-6-5:

Note: H2S process services are not the only services which are lethal.
What is a Sour service?
NACE MR0175 / ISO 15156-1 (3.19) defines Sour services as:
o "Exposure to oilfield environments that contain H2S and can cause cracking of materials by the mechanisms
addressed by NACE MR0175"
Note: ASME Section-8 Div-1 and B31.3 does not say anything about sour services.
How to determine if the service is Sour?
The amount of H2S that can term the service as Sour can also be found in NACE MR0175.
What is the difference between Sour and Lethal?
Sour and Lethal are not the same. A service is termed as Sour when its H2S content can affect the base material & the
weld. Whereas, lethal relates to toxic services harmful to humans.
What is Category-M service?
Category-M is a service category specified in ASME B31.3.
Prepared by Besant Varghees (

Page 1 of 3

and location. and those fluids falling to those set of rules MAY be termed as Category-M fluid service.3 to parallel the lethal substance reference in the ASME BPV Code Section VIII. in developing Category M Fluid Service. This distinction is very important in understanding the intent of B31.MECHANICAL ENGINEERING Last updated date: LETHAL. caused by Page 2 of 3 . but we cannot interchangeably use it. Finally. Division 1. which says: o Interpretation 1-73: Question: “Is a Category M Fluid in B31. can produce serious irreversible harm to persons on breathing or bodily contact.2. even when prompt restorative measures are taken” o “after consideration of piping design.) but also the service conditions (such as pressure. quantity.) as they affect all aspects of the piping system. is Lethal same as Category-M service? Lethal (Section-8 Div-1) and Category-M (B31.1-73. location. Fluid Service is much broader in concept in that it encompasses the complete handling and control of the fluid.All butt welds shall be 100% radiographed Prepared by Besant Varghees (besant@live. How to determine if a fluid service is Category-M fluid service? o Unlike Lethal.3 the same as a lethal substance in the ASME BPV Code Section VIII?” Reply: The Committee points out that the term used in B31. experience. the owner determines that the requirements for Normal Fluid Service do not sufficiently provide the leak tightness required to protect personnel from exposure” So. etc.3) definitions looks similar. etc. Lethal is only for pressure parts designed as per Section-8 Div-1 and Category-M is only for components designed as per B31. toxicity.3 300.3 has given an explanation for this difference through Interpretation No. B31. 2016 As per B31. What consideration shall be taken while designing a Lethal service pressure vessel? UW-2 restrictions: o UW-2(a) and UW-11(a)(1) . service conditions. It takes into consideration not only the fluid properties (such as flammability.3 is Category M Fluid Service. SOUR AND CATEGORY-M SERVICES March 18. But still its subject to the owners discretion to follow those rules.3. temperature.3 has set of rules for Category-M (Fig M300 see below). not Category M Fluid. it was not the intent of B31. Category M Fluid Service is defined as a fluid service in which both of the following apply o “the fluid is so highly toxic that a single exposure to a very small quantity of the fluid. ASME B31.3.

Maximum Flange Bolt Spacing o Appendix 2-14(a) . o UG-25(e) .read for rules when heat treatment is required o UCI-2.Mass production rules o Appendix W Table W-3 .Dimple jackets will not contain lethal substances o Appendix 35-3(c) & 35-7(d) .Filling out User Design Requirements forms o Appendix NN Table NN-6-5 .MECHANICAL ENGINEERING Last updated date: LETHAL. o UG-16(5)(a) .Category C joints for stub ends have a long list of requirements o UW-2(a)(2 and 3) .One possible lap joint stub end configuration ."lethal service" is added to the data report o UW-2 .PWHT and extreme fiber elongation . o UG-100(d)(4) .User or designated again determines if the contents are lethal o End notes 65 . 2407 regarding pneumatic instead of hydrostatic testing o UG-116(c) ."L" stamping must be added to the nameplate.The user determines if the service is lethal.if the jacket does not carry lethal substances.Mandatory flange flexibility o Appendix 7-1.Metal parts for graphite vessels are to be designed to UIG requirements o UIG-23(b) .Hydro test visual leak inspection cannot be waived. 2016 o UW-2(a) .Air cooled and cooling tower heat exchanger tube walls to be 1/16" min.Heat exchanger markings o Appendix 2-5(d) & 2-6 .main source of info on Lethal Service (see lots more from UW-2 below) o UW-11(a)(1) .5 . lethal service restrictions do not apply to it o Appendix 17-2(a) .Category B & C welds shall be type 1 or 2 only (butt welded)..(k) . o UG-120(d)(1) .com) Page 3 of 3 .. o UG-99(g).Filing out the U forms o Appendix KK (note 12) .Brazed vessels shall not be used o UCS-6 .Steel casting examination for 100% quality factor o Appendix 9-8 . UCD-2 Cast iron and ductile cast iron vessels are not allowed. 38W or SA-283 o UCS-79 . SOUR AND CATEGORY-M SERVICES March 18.Post weld heat treatment is required for CS and Low Alloy o UW-2(a)(1)(a) .ERW pipe (like some grades of SA-53) is not permitted but interpretation VIII-1-01-118 says it is acceptable if the long seam is fully radiographed o UW-2(a) .Lethal service o UIG-99 . Do not paint prior to the hydro test.Casting RT requirements.Service Restrictions .Heat exchangers have a long list of requirements o Read all of UW-2 for more restrictions. 7-5 . o UIG-2(c) .Definition of lethal service Prepared by Besant Varghees (besant@live.Factor of safety for lethal service o UIG-60 .All shell and head butt welds to be 100% RT o Fig UW-13. but also see code cases 2046-2.1(b) . No slip on flanges! No Figure UW-13. 20552.Do not use SA-36.Layered vessels lethal restrictions apply to the inner shell and heads only o UHX-19.Lethal service pressure tests o ULW-1 & ULW-26(b)(4) .No telltale holes. o UW-2(a)(1)(c) .Category A welds shall be type 1 only (butt welded with no permanent backing strip) o UW-2(a)(1)(b&c) &Interpretation VIII-1 92-211 . Other Rules o U-2(a)(2) . o UG-24(6) .2 Flange or Head to Shell attachments o Interpretation VIII-I-98-23 .Pneumatic tests cannot be used for lethal service vessels.Category D welds (typically nozzles) shall be full penetration.see also interpretation BC-79-680 / VIII-80-111 o UB-3 .