Safety Bulletins

Machine Fires! Have you checked?

Checks and maintenance!

The risks associated with a machine fire are enormous, they can cause serious harm as well as major forest fire with costs running into the millions of dollars!

When a machine catches on fire, it can be very difficult to extinguish especially if not caught immediately. Losing a specialised machine can prove very costly and drive up the cost of insurance.

A spate of recent fires has reinforced the importance of checks and maintenance.

FIPS 7530, 31/11/15 - Property Damage Incident

A machine operator was about to lay out fresh stems for processing when he noticed the hydraulics had stopped working. Turning the machine off, the operator then got out to look around and noticed smoke coming from under the bonnet. Responders arrived and turned off the isolation switch and extinguished the fire. They discovered that the battery lead (running from the starter motor) had been rubbing against the frame, which caused the fire. They also discovered that this is a 'known issue' for the type of machine!

Learning from this - Machine Operators, have you checked?

  1. the fire extinguishers ensuring they are fully charged and properly secured?
  2. machine servicing has occurred according to the schedule?
  3. for oil leaks - removing waste-oil along with debris build-up?
  4. for evidence of rubbing and/or shorting along the electrical wiring, loom and leads?
  5. to see how quickly everyone can respond to a fire run a practice drill and find out!
  6. that the isolation switch has been turned off at the end of each shift?
  7. with your machine supplier for known issues on the type of machine you operate?

View this article in Safety Bulletin 98