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Safety drive prompts audits for 2016 explosion proof forklifts

Safety drive prompts audits for 2016 explosion proof forklifts

To counter the highly explosive problem of defective explosion proof forklifts being used in hazardous areas, Pyroban is offering Ex-ASA annual safety inspections as part of the purchase price of the conversion.

A recent study by explosion protection specialist Pyroban has raised concerns that safety is not being maintained correctly on some industrial sites, fearing many explosion proof forklifts are unsafe and could cause an explosion.

“Explosion proof forklifts are highly specialised pieces of safety equipment that should be maintained and audited in a very different way to standard forklifts,” says Darren Boiling, Group After Sales Manager. “We care about the continued safety of our customers and want to make sure they fully understand their responsibility and continued safety commitments.

“We are offering an Ex-ASA audit for all European trucks converted by Pyroban in 2016, which will be carried out as part of the initial purchase of the machine,” he adds explaining that the Ex-ASA annual safety audit is a thorough inspection of the safety critical components on an explosion proof forklift.

Explosion proof forklifts are widely used in industries where flammable material is being processed or stored such as a chemical factory, waste treatment plant, distillery or even a food processing operation. Pyroban converts standard forklifts integrating various explosion protection technologies. The conversion process is strictly regulated and can take months of skilled engineering, rigorous testing and certification.

“Equipment leaving the Pyroban factory is safe for operation in an explosive atmosphere,” says Darren. “However, daily use in demanding applications can result in significant wear and driver damage. It is therefore imperative that equipment is maintained correctly throughout its life in order to prevent an explosion.”

The specification process is largely driven by the ATEX 1999/92/EC Directive which requires businesses to classify hazardous areas into Zones and dictates what safety equipment is required. But ATEX is not just about purchasing the correct equipment.

ATEX 1999/92/EC requires the end user to “demonstrate that work equipment is designed and maintained with due regard for safety.” All Pyroban equipment is converted to EN60079-17 which states that an inspection routine should be introduced to ensure the continued safe operation of equipment.

“Quite simply, it is an employer’s duty to prevent an ignition source, such as a hot surface or spark, from entering a hazardous area,” he says. “If a truck was used intensively for three years with no inspection it could become faulty, and in the eyes of the law, the employer could be failing to fulfil his duty of care.”

The Ex-ASA ensures that the integrity and safety of the materials handling equipment is not compromised during its working lifetime.

“When you are dealing with potentially hazardous materials, the smallest spark or increase in temperature could become an ignition source, and it is imperative that all equipment is maintained to the highest order,” he says.

The inspection can be carried out at any location by one of Pyroban’s CompEx accredited engineers and it works in unison with the service support offered by forklift truck suppliers. All safety critical components of Pyroban’s explosion protection system are inspected and recorded, including Exd enclosures, cables and glands, shutdown devices, conductivity and fork cladding.

If no irregularities have been found, the truck will be declared safe for use and a certificate will be issued to support the Explosion Protection Document (EPD). Irregularities need to be repaired immediately, followed by re-inspection.

“There are three simple steps to ensure good practice and maintain compliance throughout the life of an explosion proof forklift,” Darren explains. “Firstly, use engineers who are trained on the Pyroban system, then, follow the recommended service schedules and finally carry out Ex-ASAs.”

All Pyroban explosion proof forklifts purchased in 2016 and delivered into Europe will receive the first year Ex-ASA as part of the initial purchase. Pyroban will contact customers to arrange a suitable time for the audit based on delivery of the truck. To complement this, the company can also provide an inclusive offer for safety inspections for the life of the equipment in service.

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