An increasing number of forklift trucks are required to operate in potentially explosive atmospheres. In such high risk operations, companies need to be sure that their service engineers are trained to maintain EX-protected equipment to ensure that the site and employees are fully protected. Explosion protection specialist Pyroban insists that Operations Managers need to understand the risks associated with maintenance by engineers who do not have the proper training.
In a potentially explosive atmosphere found in industries such as the chemical or food and drinks industry, one spark from a forklift truck component is all it could take to create an explosion. In order to operate safely in an explosive atmosphere, forklift trucks must be modified to meet the requirements of ATEX and be maintained by a specifically trained engineer.
Robin Chapman, Principal Engineer for Pyroban’s Safe Handling Division explains “Using appropriately trained engineers for planned and unplanned maintenance, following service schedules and carrying out EX-ASAs are three key steps to ensuring continued vehicle safety in explosive atmospheres”.
Firstly it is important to use engineers that are trained specifically on the explosion proof system. For example, only a Pyroban trained engineer should service Pyroban equipment, as it is specialised in both its purpose and design. Planned and unplanned maintenance requires specialist knowledge and a full understanding of both explosion protection and site safety. “Untrained engineers have no idea what they are dealing with and within minutes can jeopardise the safety of the site.” continues Chapman.
Pyroban primarily trains forklift dealers’ engineers to carry out the service and maintenance of the explosion proof trucks because they are usually local and can respond quickly to any service related calls. In support, Pyroban’s own specialist engineers are located throughout the UK should an engineer require additional help and support.
All Pyroban trained engineers must be retrained every two years to ensure that all learnt procedures are up to date and to keep engineer expertise fresh, which is critical when working on equipment used in this type of atmosphere. Every Pyroban protected truck must also be serviced in accordance with the Pyroban handbook in order to maintain safety levels for the lifetime of the equipment. Pyroban also works with the equipment dealer networks, to ensure it is supported by a fully stocked parts department.
In line with current legislation, all forklift trucks are legally required to undergo a Thorough Examination which is very similar to an automotive MOT in principle. Lift trucks that are fitted with explosion protection are now also required by law to undergo an Annual Safety Audit (EX-ASA). It is a method of monitoring and maintaining the vehicle and its equipment to ensure DSEAR safety requirements are met. The EX-ASA is a Pyroban initiative that must be carried out by one of Pyroban’s specialist CompEx approved engineers.
Robin Chapman adds “the safety and financial risks posed in a potentially explosive atmosphere are very serious. It is important that all companies are aware of the risks and how to avoid them simply by employing the right staff, applying the correct training and managing the trucks efficiently”.
For more information about explosion protected forklift trucks and Pyroban training: