Safety Bulletins

Serious burn incident

What happened? A skidworker was seriously burnt when his cigarette (or perhaps lighter) ignited fuel that had spilt from the chainsaw onto his clothing and body.

Caution: Smokers may think this will never happen to me! However, this type of incident is common enough to warrant that we all give this subject serious thought!

Background Information: After refuelling, the skidworker waited in the safe zone while the loader completed various sorting tasks including laying out a new deck of stems.

Receiving the all-clear, the skidworker walked back onto the skid. It was then that he noticed that fuel had spilt from the loose fuel cap. A few moments later, he was on fire!

The Root Cause here is smoking while using petrol (or a petrol powered device). Thinking that the risk of a fire is low, some workers may be lulled into a false sense of security. The facts are fuel-spills are common and fires have occurred on several occasions. Clearly, the risk of harm is present when workers smoke around fuels!

Fuel and Smoking Reminders: Both the Approved Code of Practice at 4.1.6 and our contracts have basic rules that cover refuelling and smoking - please follow these!

Employers together with employees would be wise to consider (perhaps at the next safety meeting) what additional steps to implement, to ensure everyone stays safe.

View this article in Safety Bulletin 92