New fire safety standards for mobile equipment operators
Mobile equipment operators are advised to familiarise themselves with changes to fire safety standards, writes Steve Oxley, the national product manager for vehicle fire suppression at Wormald.
Australian Standard AS 5062-2016 Fire protection for mobile and transportable equipment has recently been revised to promote improved fire safety for mobile plant and equipment.
Owners and operators of these vehicles are urged to familiarise themselves with changes, which include amendments to maintenance procedures.
AS 5062-2016 specifies the minimum requirements for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of vehicle fire suppression systems. It is intended to be applied to new equipment, and can also be applied to existing equipment for maintenance activities.
The combination of heat, flammable liquids, turbo chargers, and hot exhaust and electrical components in an enclosed engine compartment can put vehicles at a high potential risk of a devastating and costly fire.
A vehicle fire suppression system can provide early detection to allow extra time for the operator to safely evacuate in the event of a fire and help to minimise damage to the vehicle.
Wormald urges mobile equipment owners and operators to adopt AS5062-2016 as best practice and familiarise themselves with the revised standard.
There are two main changes to the standard:
Firstly, it outlines new provisions for tolerance testing and routine service, which have been introduced from Australian Standard AS1851-2012 ‘Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment’.
These specify how often equipment must be serviced and outline tolerance periods should routine servicing occur outside the scheduled date.
This change is designed to encourage timely routine servicing, helping to ensure that fire protection systems will perform as intended in the event of an emergency.
Secondly, additional reporting requirements are now in place.
The Standard specifies the requirement for ‘baseline data’ to be provided for any installed fire protection systems and equipment. This data provides benchmark performance criteria and includes details on how the system is installed, what it is designed for and how it is intended to perform.
It is later compared to the results of subsequent periodic servicing activities to determine whether the fire protection system is still performing as per its intended purpose.
A consultative fire risk assessment approach still forms part of AS5062-2016.
Fire risk assessments should be undertaken by qualified personnel in conjunction with many stakeholders, such as equipment operators and maintainers, owners, the manufacturer’s representative, suppliers, hirers, insurers and specialist fire consultants.
This process recognises that fire hazards and risks associated with mobile and transportable equipment are often too complex to be fully understood by one person.
Wormald offers a range of vehicle fire suppression systems, plus inspection and testing services. For more information, call 133 166 or visit www.wormald.com.au
Steve Oxley is Wormald’s national product manager for vehicle fire suppression systems. He is responsible for vehicle system design and development, troubleshooting, fire risk assessments and sales and training both nationally and internationally. Steve joined Wormald in 1976 and has more than 30 years’ experience in the vehicle fire suppression industry. Steve is an active member of the Fire Protection Association of Australia, Technical Advisory Committee, TAC11/22 – Special Hazard Fire Protection – and the Technical Committee FP-022 for the Australian Standard AS5062-2016 – Fire Protection for Mobile and Transportable Equipment.
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