The leading cause of house fires in the United States is heating equipment. So, it is actually no surprise at all that boilers, furnaces and related heating equipment are mostly responsible for quite a large portion of industrial fires too.
Heating equipment has been responsible for 14% of structural fires in industrial or manufacturing facilities, according to the NFPA statistics. Industrial equipment as well as shop tools have also been responsible for 14%, while mechanical malfunction or failure makes up another 24%.
Norman Thomson, who wrote “Fire Hazards in Industry” has identified five of the main causes of fires that involve heating equipment:
- Having combustible materials placed too close to the heaters
- Being careless when refilling heaters, especially heaters that make use of liquid fuel
- By not following instructions to change the gas cylinders
- By placing portable heaters too close to any combustible materials
- By not inspecting the heaters and associated equipment on a regular basis
Heating equipment is not the only culprit though. Electrical, mechanical and other equipment has also proven to pose a significant risk, especially when it is not working correctly.
For example, there was a deadly incident in 2014 at an oil recycling company in Phoenix, and the cause was gas that had been dripping onto a hot motor because of a faulty pump.
How do you prevent machinery and equipment fires?
Most machinery and equipment fires happen as a result of someone doing something they shouldn’t be (e.g., hot work in unauthorised areas or storing combustible materials too close to machinery) or not doing what they are supposed to (e.g., performing regular inspections and maintenance or following instructions).
So basically, the best way to prevent any of these incidents is to establish programs and policies in order to ensure all of the machinery and equipment is installed, maintained, tested and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and industry best practices.
At Mackantra Engineering Projects, our systems are varied and made specifically to suite the risk at hand. To find out more about our products and services, visit our website on www.mackantra.co.za.