The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Extention Cable Safety

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today's focus is on the safe use of electrical extension cables.  Please see below for some further tips provided by Matthew Pelletier,  Director of Public Relations at Compliance and Safety in the USA. 

●  Replace frayed, splinted, or damaged electrical extension cables;

●  Use electrical appliances and tools only in dry locations and situations;

●  Take your electrically-charged environment into account when outdoors;

●  In case of an electric fire, use an appropriately rated fire extinguisher;

●  Be familiar with your homes fuses board; where it is, how it operates, and label the switches;

●  Regularly check extension cables for cranks, kinks, splints, or frays before each use;
●  Ensure extension cables are firmly plugged;

●  If the plug is too loose (or the holes are too snug), choose another power point outlet with a better fit;

●  Use extension cables for the right purpose. Extension cables aren’t clothes lines, leashes, or skipping ropes;
●  Never staple or nail an extension cable in place;

●  If you need to secure a cable, tape it in place or apply twist-ties as needed;
●  Never modify an extension cable;
●  Use extension cables sparingly around your home;
●  Make sure you’re using the right cable; use the correct length, proper weight, and type (indoor or outdoor);

●  Pull on the plug at the outlet when unplugging—never on the cable itself;

●  Don’t allow cables to meander under carpets where they become a tripping trigger; and

●   Don't run extension cables above other appliances;

Electrical Appliance Safety Tips

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Matthew Pelletier,  Director of Public Relations at Compliance and Safety got in touch with us via the Risk Tool Box  blog and suggested we advertise the following electrical appliance safety tips to our regular readers.  We think they're all excellent tips and we're happy to commend them to any home-owner wanting a safer home environment.  Here they are:

●  Appliances should only be purchased which have been approved by a reputable testing body such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL);

●  Read all safety warnings which come with new appliances;

●  Unplug unused appliance;
●  Put unused cables out of the reach of children, pets, and walk ways;

●  Never cover warm appliances with clothes, toys, or other household items;
●  Allow for air circulation around heat-generating appliances;

●  If overheated, allow appliances time to cool down;
●  If faulty, enlist the help of professionals and never attempt amateur repairs;
●  Do not poke things into toasters, outlets, or any other electrical appliances openings;

●  Make sure to touch appliances with dry hands;

●  Ensure that exhaust fans are clean, and remove the lint regularly; and
●  Always turn off power before you plug or unplug the appliances.

Electrical Safety in the Kitchen
●  Keep range hood filters as clean as possible;

●  clean hot plates and ovens to prevent the build-up of potential fire hazards (e.g., fats);

●  Clean the oven and toaster regularly to avoid a dangerous build-up of crumbs;

●  Remove fumes by using a ventilation system or exhaust fan; and

●  Never leave a turned-on electrical appliance unattended, especially when cooking!

Electrical Safety in the Bathroom.
●  Don’t use extension or power leads in wet areas;

●  Refrain from touching anything electrical when you’ve got wet hands or bare feet;

●  Switch off and unplug appliances that aren’t in use (hairdryers, styling irons, electric razors, etc.);

●  In the event that an electrical appliance is immersed in water, discard it at once; and
●  Never reach to pull a submerged appliance out of the water—even if it’s off. Turn off the power source at the circuit breaker box, then unplug the appliance.

David Marshall Retires

Graham Marshall - Monday, November 05, 2012

Congratulations to my brother - David Marshall - who has resigned from the Hampshire Fire Service and will officially leave at midnight 4th November 2012.  He has made a career of practical risk management in the UK and hopefully will now enjoy a bit more time for golf! 

USA Fire Safety Month

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, October 24, 2012

More people die from fires in the USA than from hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and all other natural disasters combined. 

That's why October is the national fire safety month in the USA and the campaign to educate people about the dangers of fire and how to react in an emergency.

Following these fire safety rules can help you prevent fires in your home:

●  Develop a fire safety evacuation plan and teach your family, children and grand kids about the plan;

●  Be sure to install smoke detectors in your home (to it today);

●  If you already have smoke detectors fitted, check the batteries;

●  Push the test button on your smoke detector so your kids know the sound and practice your evacuation with your family members;

●  Never place heaters or candles near to curtains;

●  Never store flammable or combustible materials near to a heat source; and

●  Install a fire-extinguisher and/or fire blanket in your home.

In the event that a fire breaks out in your home, make sure you use the following controls:

●  If there is thick smoke in the home, get low and crawl on the floor to the exit;

●  Touch any closed door with the back of your hand to test for heat.  Never enter through a hot door;

●  Stop, drop and roll if your clothing catches fire; and

●  Don't delay in calling the Fire Department for help.


Gas Storage Cabinets for Vehicles

Graham Marshall - Monday, October 15, 2012

Further to my recent posting about the danger associated with carrying gas cylinders inside vehicles, I have recently come across a company in Melbourne that manufactures high quality gas storage cabinets for inside vehicles and vans.

According to the manufacturer, (Jonda), the cabinets comply to all Australian standards and include a bracket system to hold them safe and a 50mm flange included to vent outside the vehicle.

Please call 03 9457 1280 for further information.


Warning on Fire Resistant Composite Materials

Graham Marshall - Sunday, October 14, 2012

This alert is to warn operators that fire resistant composite materials, especially FRP deck gratings, used offshore may fail, or lose integrity, after exposure to relatively short duration hydrocarbon pool fires.

The time taken for this is considerably shorter than the specified resistance period of 60 minutes derived from the certifying test for cellulosic fires.

Duty Holders must determine whether composite gratings are used in areas with potential hydrocarbon fire exposure and identify means of ensuring the safety of personnel should they walk on weakened gratings.

This Safety Notice is being issued a result of investigations by the Health and Safety Executive into the consequences of exposing Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) deck gratings to hydrocarbon pool fires.

These gratings are commonly used by the offshore industry as a result of their apparent advantages over steel gratings and factors such as fire resistance certification, light weight and improved environmental resistance.

At present FRP deck gratings are certified against US Coast Guard specifications PFM 2-98 and NVIC 9-97-CH1, which employ a combination of load tests and a 60 minute 'fire' exposure to a test furnace to mimic the heat profile of a cellulosic, rather than a hydrocarbon fire.

Celluosic fires have slow growth times and may reach a temperature of 880 ºC after 60 minutes, compared to hydrocarbon fires which can, typically, reach temperatures around 1100 ºC in significantly less time.

Hydrocarbon jet fires will produce even higher temperatures within even shorter impingement times.

Tests by the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL), on behalf of HSE, have determined that certain types of FRP gratings based on a glass reinforcement embedded in a phenolic or isophthalic resin, may lose their load-bearing capabilities or fail after exposure to hydrocarbon pool fires.

The tests show that the fire duration required for this failure or weakening is substantially shorter than for cellulosic fires against which the composite materials were certified.

These tests also identified the possibility that the grating may appear to have retained its integrity post-fire, but may actually have insufficient strength to support the dynamic loading arising from persons walking/running over it.

Duty Holders must identify whether composites are used in areas where they may be exposed to hydrocarbon fires. If so, Duty Holders must establish means of ensuring, in consultation with manufactures or suppliers, that sufficient integrity will remain for their safe use.

Relevant legal documents:

+  The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Sections 2 and 4;

+  The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction etc.) Regulations, 1996, Regulation 5; and

+  Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations, 1995, Regulation 5.

Please pass this information to a colleague who may have this Product/Equipment or operate this type of system/process.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, 2005

Graham Marshall - Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order was introduced into Law in the UK in October 2006. 

It makes the owner of any property responsible for taking steps to protect the people using the premises from the risk of fire, if anyone pays to stay in your property, other than to live there as a permanent home.

For example, if you run a business to provide:

• Guest accommodation in small premises, such as B&Bs, guest houses, farmhouses, inns and restaurants with rooms;

• Self-catering accommodation, such as houses, cottages, chalets, flats and holiday caravans; or

• Hostels or small bunkhouses.

The above list is not definitive and there is no absolute definition of what is a ‘small’ or ‘large’ premises.

As a rule, if your premises are significantly larger than a family home, or if they include long, unusual or complicated routes to an exit, you will probably need more detailed advice on the range of fire safety arrangements that you need to consider.

So, if you're running a small business that involves paying guests staying in your premises, you must undertake the following steps in order to comply with UK legal requirements:

• Carry out a fire risk assessment of the premises;

• Wherever necessary (as indicated through the fire risk assessment), improve your fire safety measures; and

• Keep the risks, and your fire safety measures, under review.

A fire risk assessment is a thorough look at your premises and the people who are likely to use them, including the elderly, very young children and disabled people.

It considers the risk of fire breaking out and what measures you need to put in place to prevent it and keep people safe.

Undertaking a fire risk assessment is something you may be able to do yourself. Or you could seek professional advice; for example from the Risk Took Box - just use the "contact us" section on our wesbite.

In many cases, particularly in smaller premises which are also in use as a family home, it may just require your common sense.

But, you do need to set aside the time to assess thoroughly the risks on your premises and then to put in place measures to minimize them.

It is a good idea for you to keep a written record of what you find in your risk assessment.

If you have five or more employees (including any who work part-time), the law says you must make a written record of the significant findings.

Significant findings are those which set out the measures you have - or plan - to put in place to manage the risk, along with details of anyone likely to be especially vulnerable.

Keeping a record will save you time and effort when you come to review and update it.

It will also show that you have carried out a risk assessment if the Fire Service visit your premises.

Fire Risk Associated with Intermediate Bulk Containers

Graham Marshall - Thursday, October 04, 2012

Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) are popular storage vessels for containing bulk chemicals and are used extensively in warehouse and logistics situations.

For many years there has been a growing consensus among fire prevention experts that a fire in warehouses storing flammable and combustible liquids in composite IBCs are difficult to control and extinguish.

Tests with IBCs show that they will fail in just over 1 minute and up to 11 minutes when exposed to a fire.

This failure results in loss of containment of the 1000 – 3000 litres of flammable/combustible products which can spread over the full surface of the floor causing the fire to rapidly intensify.

A similar scenario which is initially less severe can occur when dealing with a metal IBC that is fitted with a composite tap. This tap too will fail when exposed to a fire, which will result in the contents of the IBC being released in the warehouse

Enclosed here is a draft factsheet regarding the fire protection issues surrounding Composite and Metal IBCs.  It should be read by anyone working with IBCs.


Dangers of hot-work cutting on old fuel tanks

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, October 03, 2012

This safety alert from Worksafe in Western Australia highlights the danger when hot-work is performed on tanks or vessels that have previously contained flammable or combustible liquids or gases.

The safety alert highlights how a man was killed in WA when the angle grinder he was using to cut up a disused tank caused an explosion of chemical vapour inside the tank.

Risk Assessment Methods for Flammable Liquids Storage Depots

Graham Marshall - Thursday, September 27, 2012

Enclosed here is a benchmark study into the outcomes of two risk assessment methods which are used by regulators in Holland and France to make risk-management decisions for land use planning in and around storage depots containing flammable liquids.

 The study will be of particular interest to any person with control over tank farms and such like.

The area where vulnerable objects are undesirable and where future vulnerable objects should be avoided is largely the same in the two risk assessments. The area where severe consequences from a potential accident have to be considered is comparable as well.


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