First Quarter 2013 Newsletter
First Quarter, 2013
Welcome to the Plant Protection Report
The first newsletter of 2013 features an article about the risks associated with missing quarterly water-based sprinkler inspections. The New Year has seen a new rise in enforcement of quarterly inspections, and for good cause. A recycling plant fire in Georgia provides an example of what can happen when inspections are missed. A fire ignited and 75 sprinkler heads activated, but the water never touched the fire because system modifications had been made, but never inspected. One civilian was killed and $7.5 million in damages were incurred.
The article, "The Cost of Skipping Quarterly Water-based Fire Sprinkler Inspections" uses real-life examples as a backdrop to show the importance of meeting the NFPA inspection schedule. The article also covers the available options for complying with quarterly inspections. We hope this article provides a new insight into the importance of scheduling inspections according to the NFPA timetable and encourages the development of an inspection strategy.
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems
A recycling plant fire in Georgia that ignited in the winter of 2007 provides a chilling example of the importance of regularly maintained and inspected fire sprinklers. The fire broke out in a machinery room and rapidly spread throughout the plant, activating 75 sprinkler heads. It killed one civilian and caused $7.5 million in damages. After the investigation was complete, it was determined that the reason the fire sprinklers proved ineffective was because they were not maintained and had not been inspected according to the NFPA schedule. Maintenance deficiencies included improper sprinkler clearance, sprinkler risers modified to allow the use of garden-type hoses, and the valves were not fully opened. If the wet-pipe fire sprinkler had been inspected quarterly, as is the requirement according to NFPA, this tragedy would not have happened.
Causes of Water-Based Sprinkler Failure
Any facility type runs the same risk when their water-based sprinklers are not regularly inspected according to NFPA schedule requirements. Power generating plants, chemical processing plants, and heavy manufacturing plants often choose annual inspections because many fire protection systems are required to be inspected on an annual basis; however, water-based fire sprinklers are required to be inspected quarterly.
The top reasons for water-based sprinkler failure according to NFPA:
- System was manually shut-off early.
- Wrong type of system for hazard.
- Water discharged, but the water did not reach the fire.
- Lack of maintenance.
- System components are damaged.
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems has recently received contracts to perform a range of services in several power generating plants:
Elwood Underground | Elwood, IL
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems designed and installed the underground fire mains.
Lonesome Creek Generating Station | Alexander, ND
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems installed a CO2 system with a heat detection zone and a Protectowire zone.
Mojave Solar | Hinckley, CA
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems installed 6-cell dry pipe sprinkler systems in two cooling towers.
Pioneer Generating Station | Williston, ND
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems installed a Simplex designed alarm and detection system. They also designed and installed a CO2 system with two zones of detection, heat detection and Protectowire.
LCY Elastomers | Baytown, TX
Plum Point | Osceola, AR
Wabash River Station| W. Terre Haute, IN
Construction Site Housekeeping
“A clean jobsite is a safe jobsite!”
Construction site cleanup is an integral step to jobsite safety. Clutter and debris can cause serious injuries and may even ignite a fire. Construction site cleanup is not only in the best interest of the site crew, it is also a requirement of OSHA.
An often tragic result of a housekeeping failure is the disposal of rags soaked in a flammable liquid. This resulted in a major fire when a building was undergoing a renovation and a pile of varnish soaked rags were disposed of in a corner. The rags ignited spontaneously and spread throughout the room. This facility did have working fire sprinklers that activated, containing the fire to the room of ignition. Although this facility had fire sprinklers, lessening the damage to the structure, the fire would have never ignited if not for the lack of housekeeping. Fires can also happen during construction from welding or using tools that can cause a spark around flammable liquids or dust clouds.
Good housekeeping has many benefits beyond fire hazard safety. According to OSHA, cluttered working conditions are distracting, unsafe, and unsanitary. The continuous effort to keep a tidy jobsite improves morale, encourages good work habits, saves time, and promotes safety.
Here are some tips for keeping an organized work area:
- Separate scrap from usable material, and store the scrap pieces in a tidy pile.
- Clean up as you go, waiting until the end of the week allows the hazards to pile up.
- Assign chores each day. Give two people the job of disposing of litter, one person the job of organizing tools, one person the job of disposing of flammable rags, etc.
- Send extraneous supplies back to the supply yard ASAP.
- Keep all work areas and passageways clear of scraps, protruding nails, wires, buckets, extension cords, tools, and other hazards.
- If you see a hazard, clean it or alert a supervisor of the hazard. Don’t wait until someone gets hurt.
Follow these simple steps to provide safer working conditions for all construction site personnel.