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Fluorescent Light Fittings & Fires

Time to review your fluorescent light fittings which can overheat causing small localised fires...

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Fluorescent Light Fittings & Fires

  1. 1. Health, Safety and EnvironmentWeekly Safety Review 15 SIMS awaiting First Aid Recordable Managers Comments No. injuries ytd 11 2 Injury rate ytd 0 0 No. days worked since last 193 Injury Performance Issue Date : 28 / 8 / 2012 OSHA recordable (11/2/12) No. days worked since last 193 1 INJURIESFirst aid injury – Contractor suffered F/B in eye RIDDOR injury (11/2/12) THIS WEEKKey amongst the events last week was a fluorescent light fittingwhich had overheated, causing a small localised fire.We consider that event to be so important, it is the topic of oursafety communication this week.The Laws which apply are :• The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAW Regulations) which covers the design, construction, operation or maintenance of electrical systems and equipment• The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 which identifies general fire safety precautionsWilton Site – Lesson from History 1Event summaryAt approximately 0400hrs on the 9th October 1995 the fire alarmsounded in ICI’s Wilton Site Emergency Services Control Centre,alerting of a fire in the BASF South Area Stores warehouse which wasused for storing polypropylene finished products. A major emergency onthe site was declared and the full on-site emergency plan initiated. No direct root causes for the fire was determined. The results of the investigation (BASF and Cleveland County Fire Brigade) suggested the probable cause was a fluorescent light fitting overheating, causing the ignition of its Perspex cover which dropped flaming molten plastic onto stored product below. The warehouse lighting was in continuous use.
  2. 2. Wilton Site – Lesson from History 2Event SummaryThe LDPE fire in 2009 began in cabins used by contractors building theplant. No-one was in the cabins when the fire was discovered shortlyafter 2am. There was significant damage to the cabin area.An investigation identified one probable cause was a fluorescent lightfitting overheating, causing the ignition of its Perspex cover whichdropped flaming molten plastic onto stored paper and wooden furniturebelow.Our Emergency Services team have also been involved in putting outother local fires caused by overheating florescent lights at a customersPortrack storage location, on ….04th June 2007 - 06th June 2007 - 29th November 2010We can therefore also add these events to our corporate memory andlearning.In order to be able to minimise the potential for future fire safetyconcerns, (at work or home) we need to …….. Make sure installation and maintenance of electrical items is carried out by competent personnel Report electrical defects immediately and ensure repairs are carried out promptly A fluorescent fitting should be reported as faulty if: • It flashes repeatedly at starting • The ends of the tube glow red • There are loose parts or it is dangling from its fixings • It vibrates or there is a smouldering smell Turn off lights and other electrical items which are not in use (also good for carbon emissions reasons) Reduce the quantity of combustible materials we store, particularly in office environments
  3. 3. The key things to report regarding fluorescent lighting fittings are :A common failure mode of most fluorescent lighting fittings is overheatingof the choke, the plug in starter or the end cap connectors - should theseoverheated items fall onto combustible materials a fire can result.The lighting diffuser material in many cases is acrylic and it burns well .A fluorescent fitting should be reported as faulty if: • It flashes repeatedly at starting • The ends of the tube glow red • There are loose parts or it is dangling from its fixings • It vibrates or there is a smouldering smellLighting checksHazardous area lighting, road lighting and emergency lighting is checked on atime basis, most standard fittings are checked on a defect basis. Should defectsturn up a common manufacturing issue then all of that type are checked otherwiseregular checks are not done by technicians. There are over 10.000 lights inSembcorp and everyone in Sembcorp is under many of them every day, so defectreporting should be effective.Caution on High pressure sodium lamps - These lamps contain a bead ofsodium metal in a silica glass tube . if the tube breaks the sodium self combusts ina flash of intense light and heat. These fittings must not be used in offices orsimilar, warehouses where there are combustible materials or in hazardous areas.Caution on lamp disposals - All fluorescent lamps contain very toxic materialsand care is needed to dispose of tubes safely.Non lighting devices with fluorescent tubes. Many screen displays have builtin arrays of small fluorescent tubes. The current in these is electronicallycontrolled and they do not suffer the many overheating concerns of standardlighting.