Inspectioneering Journal

Is Your Flexibility Causing You Stress?

Case Studies Involving Failures of Flexible Hose Assemblies and Elastomeric Expansion Joints

By Rick Marsden, Sr. Staff Engineer, Facility Integrity at Cenovus Energy, and Jack Fraser at Cenovus Energy. This article appears in the May/June 2012 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


Flexible hose assemblies (FHAs) and flex joints are often used in designs to accommodate motion, misalignment, vibration, thermal expansion/contraction, and to simplify installations. Unfortunately, the inherent risks associated with these components are not well understood and therefore, are not always managed appropriately. This lack of awareness needlessly exposes workers and corporations to some risks which could otherwise be mitigated. Three case studies are used in this article to illustrate some of the risks and the subsequent mitigating steps recommended.

Part 1: Flexible Hose Assemblies

Case Study #1: Gas Well Testing

This incident involved a 3rd party portable gas well testing unit commonly used to periodically test flow wells. A test is accomplished by diverting the full flow from a gas well through truck mounted test equipment where it is metered and returned to the site piping.

In preparation for the test, the worker proceeded to connect the testing equipment to the flow line using two 2” flexible hose assemblies. Once connected and the gas was flowing through the test apparatus, the worker returned to the cab of his truck to await the end of the test.

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