Health & Safety, An Introduction to


Fire & Explosion

Do you know how to prevent fire or explosion?

Each year many people suffer burns caused by the flammable materials they work with. The wide variety of flammable substances found in the workplace ranges from the obvious, e.g. heating fuel, petrol, paint thinners and welding gases to the less obvious, e.g. packaging materials, dusts from wood, flour and sugar. For a fire to start, fuel, air and a source of ignition are needed. Controlling these can prevent fires.

If you would like information on fire exits, alarms, or extinguishers, contact your local fire authority.

Does this concern me?

Do you keep or use flammable substances?

Do you use or store gas in cylinders (e.g. propane)? A small amount of released gas can fill a large area with a potentially explosive mixture.

Do you work with flammable dusts? They can explode.

Do you work with plastic foams or polyester wadding? Some types will ignite easily, burn fiercely and give off dense black smoke.

Do you spray flammable paints? Vapours are heavier than air and collect at low level.

Do you know the dangers of putting flammable liquids on fires to make them burn more intensely?

Do you use oxygen, e.g. in cylinders, for welding?

What law applies?

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

Fire Precautions Act 1971

Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 – as amended

How and where you can get more help

‘Safe use of petrol in garages’ INDG331 FREE (available in packs of 10 ISBN 0 7176 1836 6 £5.00)

‘Safe use and handling of flammable liquids’ HSG140 ISBN 0 7176 0967 7 £8.50

‘Fire and explosion. How safe is your workplace? A short guide to the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations’ INDG370 FREE (available in packs of 5 ISBN 0 7176 2589 3 £5.00)

‘Safe working with flammable substances’ INDG227 FREE (available in packs of 15 ISBN 0 7176 1154 X £5.00)

‘Dispensing petrol : Assessing and controlling the risk of fire and explosion at sites where petrol is stored and dispensed as a fuel’ HSG146 ISBN 0 7176 1048 9 £7.50

You can order any of these titles through HSE Books.

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