Fire & Explosion
For specific information and support on assessing risks from Flammable Substances and of Explosive atmospheres (DSEAR) please contact HSS in the first instance. For information re. explosives (Class 1) see Statutory Notifications.
All risks of fire and explosion must be considered within your laboratory/activity risk assessment in the first instance. Where appropriate and commensurate with the level of risk a detailed assessment may be required.
Flammable liquids and products can be extremely dangerous if not handled or stored correctly. Inappropriate handling, use and storage can lead to fires and explosions, resulting in serious accidents and incidents, causing loss of life and damage to property and the environment. There is a similar risk with certain dusts and other potentially explosive atmospheres.
As a general rule users of flammable liquids should:
- Remove all obvious ignition sources from the storage and handling areas eg. sparks from electrical equipment, hot surfaces, open flames from heating equipment and static electricity.
- Use minimum quantities and return containers immediately to the secure storage area.
- Ensure all those involved with the activity know what action to take in the event of a fire.
- Ensure suitable fire fighting equipment is available, with clear signage on its correct use.
- Never oxygen enrich the atmosphere.
In very rare situations it may be necessary to ‘Zone’ potentially explosive atmospheres in order to implement additional controls to reduce the risks of creating an explosion.
Zone 0: Explosive fuel -air mixture is continuously present or present for long periods.
Zone 1: Explosive fuel -air mixture is likely to occur in normal operation.
Zone 2: Explosive fuel -air mixture is not likely to occur in normal operation, and if it does occur will exist only for a short time.
Zone 20: Continuous release inside a dust containment enclosure in which an explosive atmosphere, in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in air, is present continuously, or for long periods or frequently for short periods.
Zone 21: A place in which an explosive atmosphere, in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in air, is likely to occur occasionally in normal operation.
Zone 22: A place in which an explosive atmosphere, in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in air, is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.
Display ‘EX’ signs where there is a risk of an explosive atmosphere.
Please Note: There are no Zone 0-1 or Zone 20 - 22 areas buildings/areas at the main University campuses.
Emergency procedures must take account of the nature / quantities of the substances stored; the location of the storage facility and all those that could be affected.
Ensure everyone who could be affected, are trained in the emergency procedures. This includes visitors and relevant personnel eg. Emergency Services.
Display copies of the emergency procedures around the workplace.
Keep work activities involving the substance as far from evacuation routes as possible.
All staff and students must be trained in the safe storage and handling of flammable liquids and the action to take in an emergency.
Staff and students must understand how to use any PPE issued to control any risk