14 - Flammable Liquids, Gases & Dusts Fire and Explosion
Flammable liquids and gases are commonly used in the workplace as an essential part of processing, cleaning, maintenance or in plant laboratories. Vapors released by flammable liquids and flammable gases are easily ignited and can cause an explosion or fast spreading fire. Combustible dusts can also cause severe explosions.
What do we look for?
- The type, amount and extent of the flammable liquids, gases and combustible dusts present and available to cause or support a fire
- Flammable liquids, gases or combustible dusts introducing an unusual (higher or lower) degree of exposure to the occupancy compared to normal expectations.
- Appropriate storage and segregation of flammable gases and liquids. Adequate identification markings, bunding, drainage arrangements, ventilation, bonding/grounding, ignition source control, etc. Materials stored in proprietary storage and dispensing vessels.
- Good managerial controls including a vigilant workforce that is aware of fire and explosion hazards and reports any unusual incidents
- Areas where explosion risks are present formally identified and categorized in accordance with relevant standards. Risk assessments undertaken and appropriate control measures in place.
- Good identification and control of combustible dust exposures including fugitive dust control, ignition control and damage control (such as explosion relief, explosion suppression and explosion isolation).
Risk improvement ideas
- Assess the risk by conducting a formal hazard analysis. Consider applying the Zurich Hazard Analysis (ZHA) or other Hazard Analysis methodology to identify the hazards, analyze the risk and implement suitable control measures.
- Use less flammable or non-flammable alternatives where possible.
- Limit quantities of flammable liquids or gases on site by ordering smaller containers, in fewer numbers, but delivered more frequently.
- Segregate storage of flammable liquids or gases from other storage and from production areas.
- Mark containers of flammable liquids or gases as to their contents.
- Provide adequate bunds, sills or ramps to retain any spillage of flammable liquids.
- Provide suitable drainage to prevent discharge into public drains or ground pollution.
- Ventilate areas where flammable liquids, dusts or gases are stored or used.
- Provide suitable bonding / grounding arrangements during transfer, decanting and dispensing operations.
- Provide appropriate electrical equipment in areas where flammable liquids, dusts or gases are stored or used.
- Strictly limit the amount of flammable liquids or gases in production areas. Only use approved safety containers.
- Provide appropriate marking of pipes and valves containing flammable liquid or gases.
- Implement management programs to ensure appropriate housekeeping, controls over volumes of liquids held, prevent open containers of liquids, good spill containment and appropriate disposal of rags and waste absorbent materials.
- Provide appropriate explosion venting, isolation and suppression to combustible dust exposures as required.
- Minimize the generation of fugitive combustible dust. Implement an effective ‘Stop, Clean, Fix’ program.