Common Fire Hazards for Motor Industry

All commercial and domestic environments have their respective fire hazards, with the potential for a blaze breaking out manifesting itself in a number of different ways. The motor industry is full of working environments that contain high levels of fuel – one of the three elements that make up the fire triangle (along with a source of ignition and a source of oxygen).

This makes the identification and eradication of fire hazards within this area – especially concerning things that could ignite fuel in any way – all the more important.

Common Hazards

The fuels that are prevalent throughout the automotive industry, including petrol, solvents, paints and engine oils, are highly flammable and present the most immediate and obvious fire hazard on these premises.

The misuse of petrol is a particular risk, and staff working in motor industry environments must take extra care when draining fuel tanks.

Similarly, work using heat emitting equipment or machinery, such as soldering irons and spark-generating saws, must be carried out in regulated conditions well away from flammable materials.

As with any working or residential environment, fire risk is increased within the automotive industry if refuse is allowed to build up and isn’t regularly disposed of. This can present a danger both inside and outside the premises, with a collection of rubbish bags externally also presenting a risk from arson.

Avoiding Hazards

Good housekeeping is the primary method of avoiding fire hazards within the motor industry. In relation to vehicle servicing or repair garages, this means maintaining a rigorous schedule of cleaning, keeping any motor fuels and other flammable materials out of the way in secure locations, and being sure to clear up any spillages immediately and thoroughly.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) govern the storage and usage of flammable materials. As part of the DSEAR stipulations, a full inspection of the type of dangerous substances that are present on site, and at what point they constitute a fire risk.

All staff present must be fully trained as to the operation procedures for flammable materials, as well as information regarding the correct action should injury or fire occur as a result of misuse.

Designate areas that are used for storage of flammable materials as “no spark” or “no ignition” zones, dictating that staff may not use this type of equipment (or smoke) within these areas.

Careful attention to detail is vital in the hazardous environments operating with the motor industry. This relates both to organisation’s approach to cleaning, maintenance and working practices, as well as the conduct of the staff operating on the premises. Regular fire risk assessments will need to be carried out in order to identify threats to safety, with a particular focus placed on reducing the number of potential fire hazards that might go unnoticed for long periods.

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