£80K Fine for Paint Manufacturer after Worker Suffers Burns
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the accident and found that, when planning the floor cleaning, the company had failed to recognise the hazards associated with the use of highly flammable solvents to clean the spray booth. The injured employee had not received training to clean the floor and had not been properly supervised when carrying out the work activity.
5 Tips to Help Prevent Fires and Explosions
- Undertake a risk assessment in relation to your use and storage of flammable substances, such as oil, gases, paints and solvents. Always look to reduce the risk, for example, by substituting the substance for something less flammable (i.e. a substance with a higher flashpoint) and think about removing any potential ignition sources such as electrical items and naked flames.
- Store any flammable substances in correct containers and lock them away to prevent theft. Ensure that liquids are in bunded areas to contain any unintentional releases. Make sure container lids fit properly and that the containers themselves are not damaged. Check that storage areas have the correct levels of ventilation to prevent vapour build up.
- Where vapour ignition could be a problem, adapt the process to remove the potential ignition source. In the above accident, for example, the correct procedure would likely have been to use a mop and bucket, rather than an electrical scrubber.
- Provide training for workers on how a fire or explosion could happen and under which conditions. The training should cover all activities involving the substance, including transporting it, decanting it and clearing up spillages, as well as use within the work task.
- Look to reduce the quantities of flammables stored on site – only decant what you need for half a day or a day, for example, and only order in what you need in the near future.
It is vitally important that the risk of fire and explosion from flammable substances is mitigated – take the necessary action today to check your controls.