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Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 022 – RM Fleet Workshop Fire

No. 407/2022


Our Ref: E5/22


To: All Branches


Dear Colleagues,


Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 022 – RM Fleet Workshop Fire Involving The Misuse of ‘Flammable’ Brake Cleaner Spray/Fluid:


Background and Description


Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team have issued RMG SHE Safety Flash FY22 022 following an incident in a fleet workshop when a vehicle caught fire after ‘Brake Cleaner’ was misused to clean oil residue from around a ‘Tail-Lift Power Pack’. When the tail-lift was operated, the electrical power pack contacts created a spark which ignited the flammable brake cleaner vapour and the vehicle caught fire and was damaged.


A number of previous incidents have occurred in fleet workshops, involving the misuse of brake cleaner which have led to minor fires. This included an incident when the brake cleaner was applied to a fleet workshop floor, following which a ‘Floor Scrubbing Machine’ was used. The machine ignited the vapours and caught fire, destroying the machine. In another incident brake cleaner was used to clean metal surfaces prior to welding. When the welding commenced a nearby ‘brake fluid soaked wipe’ burst into flames.


Impact


Fire damage to a vehicle.


Key Messages and Learning Points


Brake cleaner spray/fluid is highly flammable and must only be used for its intended purpose, for brake cleaning work and then only if an Aqueous ‘water-based’ cleaning machine is not available. Brake cleaner is volatile and should not be used for any other purpose, such as a general cleaner or degreaser, especially in an area where there can be heat, electrical sparks, welding flames etc. Jet washing or Aqueous ‘water-based’ cleaning equipment or approved cleaning materials should always be used primarily.


The key message is “Don’t Misuse Brake Cleaner.”


Actions:

PiC/Workshop Managers:

  • Brief the content of the Safety Flash to all RMG fleet workshop staff to raise awareness of the above key messages and learning points, to ensure that ‘brake cleaner’ is solely used for the purpose of brake cleaning work and then only if an Aqueous ‘water-based’ cleaner is not available.

  • Remind all RMG fleet workshop staff that all aerosols must be returned to secure COSHH cabinets at the end of the technicians’ shift and must not be stored in or on tool cabinets.

  • Remind all RMG fleet workshop staff to ensure that Aqueous cleaners are the first choice for use for brake work.

  • Ensure that Aqueous cleaning equipment is maintained and fit for use.

  • Ensure that all workshop bins on in fleet workshops have lids and they are in place, in order to reduce the fire risk.

CWU ASR/WSR Action:

Please ensure that this Safety Flash is communicated and brought to the attention of all RMG fleet workshop members and that managers brief all staff and deploy the above actions.


Attachment:

  • Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY22 022 – RM Fleet Workshop Fire Involving The Misuse of ‘Flammable’ Brake Cleaner Fluid:

Yours sincerely


Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer



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