Hot work and welding near explosive substances

Hot work and welding near explosive substances


A mechanic at a repair workshop was killed
while welding a fuel tank on a ute. The fuel tank was empty, but contained residual
flammable substances and vapour. Sparks and heat from the welding ignited the
flammable substances, causing the fuel tank to explode. To stop this happening at your workplace,
there are a few important things to remember when cutting, grinding or welding fuel or
chemical containers. First, the work should only be done by someone
who has the experience, knowledge and skills to assess potential risks and perform the
job safely. Second, check what has previously been stored
in the empty drum or container by reading the label and checking for any residual gas
or flammable liquids. Even if a drum or container has been empty
for a long time, it can still explode or emit hazardous gas when heat is applied. Simply rinsing drums or containers is not
a fail-safe way to remove residue. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning
the contents before applying heat. Before you begin hot work correctly label
all containers and make sure there are safety data sheets for all products.
Ensure all explosive substances are removed from the immediate vicinity, including empty
drums and containers. During hot work make sure you only work in
designated hot work areas, use booths or welding screens to protect nearby workers from flash
burns that can cause loss of vision, ensure fumes and gases are adequately removed from
the area, have fire safety equipment close by. Remember – when you’re planning to cut,
weld or grind fuel or chemical containers, ask yourself:
Has any flammable or combustible liquid, gas or chemical ever been stored in the container?
Have I checked for a hazard diamond label and do I know what it means? If you’re unsure – don’t take the risk. For more information visit worksafe.qld.gov.au
or call 1300 369 915 Work safe. Home safe

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