In recent months, there has been a lot of change and disruption in many operations using forklift trucks and other materials handling equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres.

We’ve had a lot of conversations with businesses that are unsure about their ATEX forklift service requirements during these fast-changing times. With this in mind, here we take a look at some common myths around Ex-ASAs (Annual Safety Audits) for lift trucks and explain what you need to know.

MYTH 1: I’ve extended an existing contract for ATEX forklifts, so an Annual Safety Audit isn’t needed

A Pyroban Ex-ASA is recommended yearly to ensure your equipment is fully protected and working correctly. Those rolling-on their forklift contracts must check when a safety audit was last conducted, even if you’re keeping the same trucks, and should conduct an ASA if it’s due. Failure to do so could have big implications for both safety and compliance.

MYTH 2: Covid-19 means that the ‘old rules’ don’t apply at the moment

It’s always important to keep people safe in potentially explosive atmospheres. This is no different today as it was six months ago. So, to ensure that trucks are properly protected when working in Zone 1, 2, 21 or 22, service, maintenance and inspections must not be delayed.

In the UK, guidance from British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stated that despite the current circumstances disrupting ‘normal’ operations, “scheduled maintenance, repairs and statutory inspections must be considered essential ongoing activities.”

This applies to checks such as Pyroban’s Annual Safety Audits for explosion protected materials handling equipment.

MYTH 3: I’ve taken on a short-term rental fleet. ASAs are not my responsibility.

Keeping people safe in potentially explosive atmospheres within your operation is your responsibility. If you’re bringing short term hire equipment onto your sites, you must check when a safety audit was last conducted. You shouldn’t hire equipment unless you are certain it is safe and there is evidence that it has been audited and serviced accordingly by a trained engineer.

MYTH 4: I’ve looked at the truck and it is still working fine, so that’s enough

A Pyroban Ex-ASA is a thorough audit where 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. Even experienced lift truck engineers may not fully understand the complexities of a Pyroban forklift conversion, so it has to be conducted by a specially trained engineer.

A Pyroban Ex-ASA also supports your compliance with the ATEX 1999/92/EC directive and EN60079-17 standard.

MYTH 5: ASAs can’t be done at the moment because of various Covid-19 restrictions

Pyroban is currently able to deliver its usual Ex-ASA on a customer site where this is permitted. Government social distancing rules must also be observed as well as any necessary hygiene measures. A Pyroban Ex-ASA can be booked now by email or visiting our site and completing a form.

Service engineers can also visit sites for maintenance and repairs, while further technical support is still available for installation, commissioning, fault-finding and repair.

For sites that are shut to external visitors due to Covid-19, we are providing individual guidance and recommendations to help maintain safety. These operations should contact our team for advice.