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Worker dies after inhaling fire extinguishing aerosol particles

  • What happened?

    Two workers were working on the main engine in the engine room of fishing vessel that was undergoing maintenance.

    Two other workers were installing a new condensed aerosol fire extinguishing system in the same room.

    During the installation, the fire extinguishing system partially discharged without warning, filling the engine room with a dense cloud of aerosol fire suppressing particles.

    Three of the workers managed to escape without injuries.

    The fourth was later found not breathing and could not be resuscitated.

    Typical discharge of a condensed aerosol fire suppressant
  • Why did it happen?

    During the inadvertent discharge, the worker inhaled a high concentration of the suppressant particles.

    The installation manual had recognised the discharge as a hazard, but loss of life was not identified as an outcome - the risk associated with inhaling the suppressant particles was not protected against.

    Why did it happen - icon
  • What did they learn?

    Everyone involved with the installation of condensed aerosol fire extinguishing systems should be aware of the risks of exposure to the aerosol particles.

    The following extra safety precautions should be in place:

    • Before discharging a condensed aerosol system, there should be visible and audible alarms to alert workers.
    • Checks should be made to ensure the protected compartment has been evacuated before the system is activated.

    When the system is being installed/maintained:

    • It should be fully isolated to guard against inadvertent activation.
    • Non-essential workers should not be in the area.
    • An enclosed space rescue plan should be in place.
    What learn - icon
  • Ask yourself or your crew

    Can any equipment you use/install be inadvertently activated? What are the risks if this happens?

    What are the risks of being exposed to aerosol particles?

    Do you have an enclosed space rescue plan? What is it?

    What extra precautions could we have in place to safeguard yourself and other workers?

    Ask your crew - icon
Published on 21/07/20 59 Views 0 likes

During the installation of a condensed aerosol fire extinguishing system on a vessel, the system discharged without warning, filling the room with aerosol fire suppressing particles. Three of the four workers managed to escape. The fourth lost his life. Courtesy of IMCA