HSE OC 803/71
1 Fires and explosions are one of the main causes of deaths and property damage in MVR (see Appendix 2). Usually, they involve the mishandling of petrol eg when draining fuel tanks and lines, but incidents have also occurred during 'hot work' repairs on vehicle diesel tanks and waste oil storage tanks, during the inappropriate use of paints/thinners/waste petrol to light rubbish fires, and the collection and use of waste engine oil in space heaters.
2 This Information Document draws together relevant guidance and provides practical advice for employers and the self-employed on the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres used or present in MVR. Paras 11 & 12 and Appendix 1 contain some useful 'DOs and DON'Ts' and further advice can be found on the HSE MVR website.
3 DSEAR1 came into force in December 2002, updating or replacing existing legislation eg Highly Flammable Liquids Regulations 1972 (HFL). Most of the requirements are not new and there should be little extra work for businesses who were complying with previous legislation.
4 The main change is the requirement to carry out a risk assessment. Other supporting changes include -
5 New MVR workplaces or ones modified after 30 June 2003 must meet all the DSEAR requirements from the time they come into use. Those in use before that date have until July 2006 to meet the requirements of Regulation 7 ie zoning, marking and compliance with EPS2.
6 Typical examples of a Dangerous substance in MVR include -
|Petrol||storage/handling in drums/cans eg from draining fuel tanks/lines, and when working of vehicles|
|Waste engine oil (eg contaminated with petrol)||storage in drums/tanks and/or use in space heaters|
|Other flammable liquids||storage/use of paints, solvents, cleaning materials,|
|Flammable gases||welding/cutting equipment, LPG heaters, battery charging, LPG-fuelled vehicles, some aerosols|
|Explosive dusts||sanding organic fillers eg fibre-glass|
|Other explosive materials||air bags, seat belts pre-tensioners (see also INDG280 for the Registration of stores for these devices)|
|Flammable materials in special circumstances||welding/cutting of diesel tanks, or near to brake lines etc|
An Explosive atmosphere is an accumulation of gas, mist, dust or vapour which, when mixed with air, has the potential to catch fire or explode.
7 Employers and the self-employed must -
8 The risk assessment should determine whether existing measures are sufficient or if any additional controls or precautions are necessary and take account of -
9 Where there are five or more employees, the significant findings of the risk assessment must be recorded eg
10 In MVR there is no scope for substituting petrol or other vehicle fuel. It may be possible, however, to replace paints, solvents or cleaning materials classified as dangerous with ones that are less hazardous eg using a higher-flashpoint solvent or water-based materials. Where risk cannot be entirely eliminated, appropriate control and mitigation measures must be put in place.
11 In order of priority, the following control measures should be adopted where reasonably practicable -
|Reduce the quantity of dangerous substance to a minimum||
Do keep stored quantities of petrol, and flammable paints, thinners and solvents, including wastes, as low as possible
Do keep numbers of gas cylinders to a minimum
|Avoid or minimise releases||
Do use fuel retrievers for draining petrol tanks/lines
Do use safety containers for flammable substances. Keep tops/lids on all containers and dispose contaminated cloths/rags safely
Do use a proprietary paint mixing system
Don't spray flammable paints outside a ventilated booth/enclosure/ controlled spray space.
|Control releases at source||
Do use tools with built in extraction or local exhaust equipment when sanding organic body fillers
Do ensure that the booth/enclosure extraction is switched on before spraying
Prevent the formation of an
Do potentially dangerous work in safe and well ventilated areas eg in the open air
Don't drain petrol tanks/lines over or close to an inspection pit, drain or other opening in the ground
Don't carry out welding or other hot work on petrol or diesel tanks, unless they've been adequately cleaned and gas freed; nor near to brake lines. Never attempt to repair an LPG fuel tank - seek specialist advice
|Collect, contain and remove any releases to a safe place||Do maintain extraction/filtration equipment. Ensure it is capable of removing dangerous concentrations|
|Avoid ignition sources||
Don't smoke or carry out any hot work while draining petrol or where flammable vapours could be present -
Do ensure that equipment provided for inspection pits, spray booths and other zoned areas is suitable for use in explosive atmospheres2
Avoid adverse conditions
which could lead to danger
Do ensure that temperature controls on drying/ curing ovens are properly maintained
Don't charge batteries at charging rates in excess of manufacturers' recommendations
Do keep airbags in properly secured containers
|Keep incompatible substances apart||Don't store oxygen and flammable gas cylinders together|
12 Reasonably practicable mitigation measures to reduce the effects of any fire, explosion or similar event should be considered, including -
|Preventing fires and explosions from spreading to other parts of the workplace||Do store petrol, paints, solvents, gas cylinders in safe places in the open air if possible, or in storerooms which are in safe positions or are fire-resisting structures
Do provide at least half-hour fire resistant isolation for spray booths and any storage area inside occupied buildings
Reducing to a minimum the numbers of employees/ other
persons who may be at risk
Don't allow unauthorised persons into zoned areas eg spray booths/enclosures/ spaces; inspection pits
Do provide adequate and safe means of escape in case of fire eg from spray booths/ enclosures using flammable substances
Providing plant and equipment
that can safely contain or
suppress an explosion, or vent
it to a safe place
|Do provide and maintain explosion relief panels where required eg on those direct-fired drying/curing ovens working at temperatures over 80C and on some in which air is recirculated; and on dust collection plants|
13 The Hazardous area classification of MVR premises is not simple. However, whilst transient activities involving flammable substances eg use of aerosols can take place anywhere on site, the following are examples of places that would normally be considered to be hazardous include-
14 The special precautions that apply to hazardous places are -
15 Hazardous places are classified in terms of zones on the basis of the likelihood and duration of an explosive atmosphere eg
|Zone 0 / 20 -||present continuously; or for long periods; or frequently eg of petrol tanks or containers|
|Zone 1 / 21 -||likely to occur in normal operation but only occasionally eg spray booth, paint mixing|
|Zone 2 / 22 -||not likely to occur normally; or for short periods only eg vehicle inspection pit|
(0,1 & 2 apply to gases, vapours and mists; 20 21 & 22 to dusts)
16 Equipment, both electrical and mechanical, used in the zones must meet the requirements of EPS2though, if in use before July 2003 can continue to be used provided the risk assessment shows it is safe to do so and it is maintained in good condition. The following equipment categories apply to the above zones -
Zone 0 / 20 - Category 1 equipment
Zone 1 / 21 - Category 1 or 2 equipment
Zone 2 / 22 - Category 1, 2 or 3 equipment
Examples of equipment in MVR which might need protection include lighting (fixed and portable, even 12volt), hand-held drills, grinders, polishers, paint spray equipment, drying lamps.
17 'EX' warning signs should be displayed at the entrances to places which are used exclusively for an activity involving a flammable substance eg flammable paint/solvent stores, spray booths, body preparation grinding areas, and because of their unique hazard, inspection pits.
At other locations where the use of materials containing dangerous substances is transient eg aerosols, activities should be covered by risk assessment, appropriate control measures and strict adherence to procedures. Some businesses have decided to activate visual/audible warnings when potentially hazardous activities are taking place. Whatever measures are adopted, they must be fully understood by everyone in or entering the workshop.
18 Employees who work in zoned areas should be provided with clothing, especially footwear, which minimises the risk of an electrostatic discharge igniting the explosive atmosphere.
19 All areas where hazardous explosive atmospheres may be present and coming into use for the first time after 30 June 2003, must be confirmed as being safe (verified). The person carrying out the verification must be competent to consider the particular risks at the workplace and the adequacy of control and other measures put in place.
20 Emergency arrangements, proportionate to the level of risk, should be prepared where the risk assessment concludes that an accident, incident or emergency could arise, eg a fire or significant spillage, because of the quantity of dangerous substance present. For example -
Information on emergency procedures should be given to employees and the emergency services advised that the information is available.
21 In addition to information on emergency procedures (see para 20), employees and other persons who may be at risk should be provided with suitable information, instruction and training on the precautions and actions they need to take to safeguard themselves including -
Much of this information is already required by existing health and safety legislation. Notices restricting entry by non-employees and others should be prominently displayed at the entrances to hazardous areas.
22 DSEAR introduces new arrangements for the regulation of petroleum spirit. It removes licensing controls under the Petroleum Consolidation Act (PCA) 1928, except for any activity relating to fuelling of motor vehicles (and other specified vessels) with petroleum spirit, including the associated bulk storage. For activities relating to the fuelling of motor vehicles, DSEAR applies as well as PCA and Petroleum Licensing Authorities (PLAs) will enforce DSEAR in relation to such dispensing and bulk storage.
23 Regulation of the storage and dispensing of petrol which is not associated with the fuelling of vehicles, including storage in cans and drums, dispensing into (approved) containers or an engine test bed or the fuel tank of a generator etc, now come under DSEAR and enforcement responsibility has been allocated to HSE/Local Authority (LA) Environmental Health Departments.
24 The appropriate standards for drum or bulk storage of petroleum spirit which is not part of a licensed activity, are those currently applicable to the storage of highly flammable liquids in general in HSGs 51 or 176. However, for existing stores built to the Home Office Code there should normally be no need to provide explosion relief in accordance with HSG51.
2 EPS -The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996(SI 1996/192)
HSE priced publications
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations: Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L138 (2003) (15.50)
Storage of Dangerous Substances: Approved Code of Practice and Guidance L135 (2003) (9.50)
Safe maintenance, repair and cleaning procedures L137 (2003) (9.50)
The storage and use of flammable liquids in containers HSG51 (1998) (9.50)
The safe use and handling of flammable liquids HSG140 (1996) (8.50)
The storage of flammable liquids in tanks HSG176 (1998) (9.50)
Health and safety in motor vehicle repair HSG67 (1991) (5.50)
HSE priced and free publications are available by mail order from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, and CO10 2WA. Tel: 01787-881165 Fax: 01787-313995. Website: http://books.hse.gov.uk/
You can also visit HSE's MVR website:www.hse.gov.uk/mvr where HSE's free leaflets can be downloaded.
The storage and use of flammable liquids in containers HSG51 (1998) (9.50)
Do store all HFLs, including waste solvents and petrol/diesel mixtures from mis-fuellings, in suitable containers, fitted with lids/tops and kept either
Do use a proprietary safety container for storage/use of flammable substances where appropriate
Do dispose contaminated cloths/rags safely
Safe use of petrol in garages INDG331 (2013)
Safety in gas welding, cutting and similar processes INDG297(1999)
Hot work on small tanks and drums INDG314 (2000)
Gas cylinders containing flammable gas
The safe use of gas cylinders INDG308(rev1) (2002)
The spraying of flammable liquids HSG178 (1998) (9.50)
Electric storage batteries INDG139 (1993)
Safe working with flammable substances INDG227 (1996)
Safe working with lpg fuelled motor vehicles- INDG387 (2013)
Recently there have been several incidents at MVR premises in which employees have been seriously burned when waste thinners, petrol or other flammable liquid was used to start fires. The materials being burned were mostly cardboard, paper, litter or other wastes.