Friday, January 13, 2012

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS CAUGHT ON FIRE

Description of Accident:
Storage for chemicals and flammable liquids was caught on blaze for about 15 to 20 minutes. The fire spread quickly due to the presence of flammable substances  stored inside the store. Luckily no casualties or nobody was injured as the store is situated in an isolated area with no other storage or operations nearby. The initial investigation revealed that the cause of the blaze was the overheating of a window type air conditioning unit that led to electrical short circuit.


Root Cause:
  • Inadequate monitoring of electrical equipment.
  • No protected circuit breaker.
  • Failure to use intrinsically safe electrical equipment.


Preventive Measures:
  • As far as reasonably practicable and where necessary, use intrinsically safe electrical equipment in flammable stores.
  • Training of electricians and updating of electrical equipment monthly inspections to include AC in flammable store.
  • Change design specifications for flammable stores to use AC with power supply external to the store.
  • Install circuit breakers and do inspections on all distribution boards to ensure no other deviations.

"Management failing to ensure maintenance regime is in place, incorrect or inadequate installation of unit, poor supervision for substance storage, local legislation requirements not being adhered to for storage. There is a Civil Defense requirement to the individual breakers for each AC unit. Hazardous materials need to be stored separately."




UNSAFE SCAFFOLDING

Illustration:
Overview:
The rendering work shown above was stopped due to the unstable and unsafe scaffolding.

The following reasons:
  1. Scaffold was not fixed firmly to the ground.
  2. Walk platforms were not fully bordered.
  3. The standards were not vertical.
  4. Lack of bracing.
  5. There was no guardrails and toe boards.


Hazards Identified:
  • Probable collapse of scaffolding - People at risk: Laborers working on the scaffolding.
  • Fall from height - People at risk: Site workers.
Cause Factor:
  • Contractor does not have any commitment towards HSE issues.
  • No regular checks or inspection of scaffolding being carried out.
  • Scaffolding was erected by incompetent person.
Remedial Actions:
  • Requested the contractor to provide base plates for all components resting on the ground.
  • Provide toe boards and guard rails and fully boarded work platform.
  • Additional support of bracing to stabilize the scaffolding.


Recommendations:
  • Scaffolding should be erected by competent person only.
  • Regular inspections of the scaffold must be made and recorded.
  • Scaffold must rest on stable surface, uprights should have base plates and timber sole plates if necessary.
  • The public must be protected at all stages.
  • The scaffold should have safe access and egress.
  • Overloading of scaffolding must be avoided.
  • Work platform should be fully boarded.
  • Scaffolds should be properly braced and secured to the structure.


"No mention of the requirement for a Safe System of Work devised from a risk assessment. As this system scaffold, the manufacturers assembly instructions would give all the relevant data for safe erection. All scaffold must meet the requirements by law. Minimum requirements are handrails, knee rails, toe boards, scaffold boarded platform tied to the structure, sufficient bracing, proper access ladders. Scaffold to follow best practices and meet local legislative requirements, competent scaffolders to be appointed for erection, alteration and dismantling of scaffolds. Method statements and risk assessments to be carried out before work begins. Ties to be installed to match best practice."