Safety company Pyroban is reminding explosion protected forklift users of the need to conduct Ex- annual safety audits (Ex-ASAs) alongside a Thorough Examination to ensure legal compliance and reduce risk in potentially explosive atmospheres.
“To improve safety when using forklift trucks, a regular Thorough Examination is mandatory in many countries,” says Darren Boiling, Group After Sales Manager for Pyroban. “However, this alone is not enough to ensure safe operation in applications where there is a risk of explosion.”
“If a truck has been converted for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere, it is essential that the explosion protection system is inspected annually, or sooner, alongside a Thorough Examination of the truck itself,” continues Darren.
A Thorough Examination, usually organised by the supplier of the forklift as part of a service agreement, is used to confirm that the truck can be operated safely and as it is intended to by the manufacturer. The inspection identifies any defects which could compromise the safety of the truck, checks on the status of any previously identified problems, and sets time-scales against which any new issues need to be addressed.
Although Thorough Examination includes a review of the correct function of safety devices, this inspection does not assess the condition and function of explosion protections systems to the degree required for safe operation in potentially explosive atmospheres. Equipment is converted to EN60079-17 which states that an inspection routine should be introduced to ensure the continued safe operation of equipment.
“When you are dealing with potentially explosive materials, the smallest spark or increase in temperature could become an ignition source, so it’s imperative that equipment is inspected carefully and then maintained to the highest order during its working lifetime,” explains Darren.
Pyroban’s Ex-ASA inspects and records all safety critical components of the complete explosion protection system. The inspection, which can be carried out at any location by one of Pyroban’s specialist auditors, checks for any irregularities. If none are found, the truck can be declared safe for use and a certificate will be issued to support the Explosion Protection Document (EPD). Similar to a Thorough Examination, if any irregularities are identified, repairs can be scheduled and carried out by a Pyroban trained engineer, and then re-inspected.
“Comprehensive safety audits help businesses comply with ATEX 1999/92/EC by demonstrating that equipment has been maintained with ‘due regard for safety’,” explains Darren.