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Fire Safety Measures In Warehouses

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OSH PRIORITY 2019:
PROGRAMSKI ODBOR
Prof. d-r Dejan Mirakovski, Univerzitet Goce Delcev Stip, Fakultet za prirodni i tehnicki
nauki, Makedonija
Prof. d-r Viktor Gavrilovski, Univerzitet Sv.Kiril i Metodij, Skopje, Masinski fakultet,
Makedonija
Prof. d-r Zlatko Petreski, Univerzitet Sv.Kiril i Metodij, Skopje, Masinski fakultet, Makedonija
Prof. d-r Jasmina Calovska, Univerzitet Sv.Kiril i Metodij, Skopje, Masinski fakultet,
Makedonija
Prof. d-r Marija Hadzi-Nikolova, Univerzitet Goce Delcev Stip, Fakultet za prirodni i tehnicki
nauki, Makedonija
Prof. d-r Nikolinka Doneva, Univerzitet Goce Delcev Stip, Fakultet za prirodni i tehnicki nauki,
Makedonija
Prof. d-r Ivo Kuzmanov, Univerzitet Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Bitola, Tehnicki fakultet
Prof. d-r Mile Spirovski, Univerzitet Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Bitola, Tehnicki fakultet
Doc. d-r Afrodita Zendelska, Univerzitet Goce Delcev Stip, Fakultet za prirodni i tehnicki
nauki, Makedonija
Prof.dr Ivan Mijailović, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Prof.dr Miodrag Hadžistević, Univerzitet u Novom Sadu, Fakultet tehničkih nauka, Srbija
Prof.dr Dejan Ubavin, Univerzitet u Novom Sadu, Fakultet tehničkih nauka, Srbija
Prof. dr Ivan Krstić, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Prof. dr Evica Stojiljković, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Prof. dr Vesna Nikolic, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Prof. dr Goran Janackovic, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Prof. dr Dejan Vasovic, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Prof.dr Vladimir Mučenski, Univerzitet u Novom Sadu, Fakultet tehničkih nauka/Savez zaštite
na radu Srbije, Srbija
Doc. dr Dragan Adamović, Univerzitet u Novom Sadu, Fakultet tehničkih nauka/Savez zaštite
na radu Srbije, Srbija
Prof.dr Milan Trivunić, Univerzitet u Novom Sadu, Fakultet tehničkih nauka, Srbija
Prof.dr Igor Peško, Univerzitet u Novom Sadu, Fakultet tehničkih nauka, Srbija
Doc. dr Dragan Živanić, Univerzitet u Novom Sadu, Fakultet tehničkih nauka, Srbija
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Dr Robert Jeroničić, Ministarstvo za saobraćaj, Slovenija
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Assist. Prof. Blagovesta Dianova Vladkova, PhD - University of Mining and Geology “St. Iv.
Rilski”, Sofia, Bulgaria
PhD Marina Zdraveska Kochovska, specialist of nuclear medicine physics University institution of positron
emission tomography, North Macedonia, Skopje
доц. д-р инж. Петър Колев Петров, Технически университет – Габрово, Република
България, гр.Габрово
ORGANIZACISKI ODBOR
m-r Blagoja Bogoevski, Zdruzenie za bezbednost na rabota „28. April“ – Skopje – Makedonija
Prof. dr Miomir Raos, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Dragoslav Radisavlјević, Savez zaštite na radu Srbije
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Prof. dr Tatjana Golubović, Univerzitet u Nišu, Fakultet zaštite na radu, Srbija
Doc. dr Sveta Cvetanović, Univerzitet u Nišu - Fakultet zaštite na radu , Srbija
Doc. dr Zoran Čepić, Fakultet tehničkih nauka - Novi Sad
Predrag Nedelјković, Savez zaštite na radu Srbije
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Dragana Bibić, Fakultet tehničkih nauka – Novi Sad
Milena Senjak, Fakultet tehničkih nauka – Novi Sad
Aleksandar Sibinovski SUGS Vlado Tasevski – Skopje
Toni Vojneski, Drzaven inspektorat za trud – Skopje
СОДРЖИНА / CONTENTS
SYSTEMS APPROACH AND RISK MANAGEMENT
SISTEMSKI PRISTUP I UPRAVLJANJE RIZIKOM
Blagoja Bogoevski, ZBR “28 April”, Skopje, North Macedonia
— 11 —
EXPOSURE OF GAS STATION WORKERS TO HAZARDOUS BTEX COMPOUNDS
EKSPOZICIJA RADNIKA NA BENZINSKIM STANICAMA HAZARDNIM BTEX JEDINJENJIMA
Dragan Adamović, Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad
— 17 —
FIRE SAFETY MEASURES IN WAREHOUSES
MERE ZAŠTITE NA RADU OD POŽARA U SKLADIŠTIMA
Dragan Živanić, Faculty of Technical Sciences, University of Novi Sad
— 23 —
BENEFITS OF INTRODUCTION OF PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND HEALTH & SAFETY FOR
EMPLOYEES IN PUBLIC UTILITIES COMPANY IN CITY OF BIJELJINA
PREDNOSTI UVOĐENJA PROFESIONALNOG USAVRŠAVANJA I BEZBEDNOST I ZDRAVLJE NA
RADU ZAPOSLENIH U JAVNOM KOMUNALNOM PREDUZEĆU U GRADU BIJELJINA
Bojana Tot, University of Novi Sad, Faculty of technical sciences,
— 33 —
THE IMPORTANCE OF MULTI-HAZARD RISK ASSESSMENT
Martina Petković, Higher Technical Professional School in Zvečan
— 39 —
SAFETY CLIMATE ASSESSMENT IN CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES
– A METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH
BlagojaBogoevski, ZBR “28 April”, Skopje, North Macedonia
— 45 —
ОБРАЗОВАЊЕ И КОМПЕТЕНЦИЈЕ СТРУЧЊАКА ЗА ЗАШТИТУ НА РАДУ
– КОМПАРАТИВНИ ОСВРТ
EDUCATION AND COMPETENCES OF PROFESSIONALS FOR WORKSAFETY
- COMPARATIVE REVIEW
BlagojaBogoevski, ZBR “28 April”, Skopje, R. North Macedonia
— 55 —
SAFETY AT WORK DURING DEMOLITION OF ASBESTOS-CONTAINING STRUCTURES
ZAŠTITA NA RADU PRI RUŠENJU OBJEKATA KOJI SADRŽE AZBEST
Milan Trivunić, University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Technical Sciences
— 67 —
OCCUPATION SAFETY RISKS AND MEASURES IN MUNICIPAL WASTE
COLLECTION SYSTEM IN SERBIA
RIZICI I MERE ZAŠTITE NA RADU U OBLASTI SAKUPLJANJA
KOMUNALNOG OTPADA U SRBIJI
Svjetlana Vujović, University of Novi Sad, Faculty of technical sciences
— 77 —
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY MEASURES IN ORGANIC WASTE TREATMENT - COMPOSTING
MERE ZAŠTITE NA RADU U TRETMANU ORGANSKOG OTPADA - KOMPOSTIRANJE
Miodrag Živančev, University of Novi Sad, Faculty of technical sciences
— 83 —
КОЛИЧИНЕ УПОТРЕБЉЕНОГ АЗБЕСТА У СРБИЈИ И СВЕТУ ЗА ПЕРИОД 1930-2000 ГОДИНЕ
QUANTITIES OF ASBESTOS USED IN SERBIA AND THE WORLD FOR THE PERIOD 1930-2000
Bojana Zoraja, Faculty of technical sciences
— 89 —
1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
FIRE SAFETY MEASURES IN WAREHOUSES
MERE ZAŠTITE NA RADU OD POŽARA U SKLADIŠTIMA
Dragan Živanić, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 6, 21000
Novi Sad, Republic of Serbia, [email protected]
Nikola Ilanković, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 6, 21000
Novi Sad, Republic of Serbia, [email protected]
Atila Zelić, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 6, 21000 Novi
Sad, Republic of Serbia, [email protected]
Abstract
The subject of this paper are fire safety measures in warehouses. First various fire sources were
explained and listed. Factors that affect fire ignition, fire spread and fire extinguishing were
analyzed. Finally, fire protection measures were given in order to increase the level of fire safety and
health at work in warehouses.
Keywords: fire, safety, warehouse
1. Introduction
Generally, warehousing does not have high fire risks, except if goods represent danger like
with warehousing explosives, fuels, solvents etc. Nevertheless, when fire breaks out in a
warehouse, it has devastating consequences. The reason for that are difficulties which occur
during fire control and fire extinguishing in the early stage, even when automatic fire
extinguishing systems are installed. Because of the narrowness of the warehouse aisles and
corridors and the tendency to obtain maximum storing capacity which means huge amount
of goods stored very close to each other, fire extinguishing demands great effort. Also, fatal
casualties often occur during warehouse fire which produces even more responsibility for
fire safety engineers.
There are many factors which causing fire make easier. They are numerous and connected.
Because of that, it is often difficult to determine the correct cause of the fire. Experiences
with fires in warehouses show that big damages occur as a result of the next factors:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Late fire detection;
Rapid fire expanding;
Irregularities in warehouse construction;
Lack of compartment separation;
Bad maintenance;
Disproportion of the amount of goods;
High levels of toxic evaporations and gases;
Absence of automatic sprinklers;
Irregularities in sprinkler installation;
Absence of damage reduction plans.
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16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
2. Fire sources
Fire emerges because of the fast and continuous material combustion. This requires three
key elements:
•
•
•
Fuel – which represents the burning material, materials like paper or gasoline;
Oxygen – which can be found in the air and it is required for combustion;
Energy – which raises the fuel temperature to the level for fire ignition. It can be
introduced by open flame, spark or lighting. Without energy, fire ignition could not
be possible.
The usual fire sources in warehouses include [1]:
•
Power installations for electric energy, gas and heating. The risk is higher when bad
maintenance is applied or when power installations are close to stored goods. Proper
way for fire prevention from bad installations is predictive maintenance. This
implies thermal imaging of the installations at least once a year. Thermal imaging,
figure 1, is a technique which uses an infrared camera for measuring the surface
temperature of different components. In most cases, increase of temperature at the
weakest point of the installation happens before electric failures. This technique is
extremely useful because it enables detection of floods one month before failure can
happen. Furthermore, goods can be heated up and ignited if they are stored in the
near vicinity of energy sources like heaters or lightning which produces heat. Goods
have to be stored at least 1 m from the energy source. Lightnings should be also
secured from the stored goods in order to prevent them to get damaged;
Figure 1. Examples of thermal imaging
•
•
Ignition sources characteristic for production processes. They can be found in
warehouses used by industrial processes which use heat or open flames like
industrial furnaces;
Ignition sources connected with warehousing processes. Machines used for handling
goods are often used in warehouses. These machines can be electric or driven by
internal combustion engines. These machines are forklifts, pallet trolleys and cranes
(stacker, overhead etc.). Generally, indoor warehouses use electric equipment which
requires power supply from batteries which have to be periodically recharged.
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OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
•
•
•
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
Battery chargers represent special danger because during charging they release
hydrogen gas. Hydrogen gas is highly combustible and presence of flammable
materials around the charging are rises the risk level for fire ignition. In order to
prevent fire ignition, it is necessary to use anti-explosion trucks in high risk areas.
Also, the area where charging is done has to be without fire ignition sources and
adequately ventilated. Power installations have to comply with up-to-date
regulations and workers have to be without necklaces, wrist watches and other metal
objects which can lead to short-circuits during operating with batteries. If the
charging is done in the dark by any reason, the charging level must not be checked
by using lighters or open flames. During automatic battery charging, the maximum
number of batteries that can be charged together has to be respected. Next, daily and
periodical checks of electric systems have to be performed. In the case when
machines are driven by internal combustion engines, sparks can occur in exhausts
which can lead to a fire in the warehouse. This is especially dangerous if the
surrounding is consisted of flammable gasses, fumes or dust. In cases like that, it is
recommended to provide devices for fire extinguishing or devices which contain
sparks from exhausts;
Other possible fire sources are in the relation with hot works. These types of
operations include heat generation which can lead to fire ignition. This is the case
with certain operations which are done during warehouse maintenance – soldering,
drilling, welding etc. Conducting these operations requires following safety
measures;
One of the potential fire sources is the presence of smokers in warehouses. To
control this type of risk, separate rooms have to be provided where smoking is
allowed. Smokers have to be informed that smoking is forbidden outside of that
room and controls have to be done at least once a month;
Fire sources are connected with processes used for product shrink wrapping in thin
plastic film. Some warehouses use this process to protect goods from braking.
Shrinking-wrapping process use heat for sealing films. Thin plastic films are highly
flammable and because of that fire risks are greater.
3. Fire load
Fuel is the second factor that is required for fire ignition and to understand its role, it is
necessary to consider what is connected to the term fire load. Generally, fire load of a
warehouse is calculated by using multiple factors including the amount and heating value
each flammable material that is present in the warehouse (construction material of the
warehouse also). The nature of the stored goods is of the greatest importance. Depending on
their characteristics, the speed of fire spread will be lower or higher. The seriousness of the
fire will depend on the flammable material. Plastic and synthetic materials have the tendency
to burn faster than natural materials like cardboard. Because of that, it is necessary to
distinguish the following [2]:
•
Stored goods – including their packaging (paper, plastic etc.). It is required to
consider if the warehouse is located in a space with high risks which is the case
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1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
•
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
when painting and varnishing operations are done. This rises the risk of fire and
explosions;
Construction material – includes material used for warehouse construction
(concrete, wood, metal constructions), material used for covering of the structure
(fiber cement, sheet metal, fiberglass) and materials used for isolation of roofs and
walls (plaster, polyurethane). Usage of isolation materials like polyurethane and
polystyrene increases the fire load because of their high level of flammability.
In order to prevent fire ignition due to fire load, the following measures should be
conducted:
•
•
•
•
Products which represent danger and which can cause great damage or corrosion
should be kept separated from products which are especially sensitive to such risks;
Aisles and corridors which separate goods can be of great use while firefighting and
rescuing. The most suitable width of aisles is 2,4 m. If possible, aisles should lead to
doors or windows in order to make access easier;
There should be at least 60 cm between stored goods and walls of the warehouse.
This is especially important when stored goods can expand if they get wet;
Goods should not be stored so that they are higher than the lower parts of roof
beams or too close to roof trusses, figure 2. If automatic sprinklers are present, it is
recommended to provide 1 m of distance between the highest point of the storage
area and sprinklers heads. Minimal distance should not be under 60 cm. In case of
fire detectors, it is recommended that the distance should be at least 1 m;
Figure 2. Stored goods reaching the ceiling
•
•
•
Empty pallets should be stored outside production facilities and warehouses. They
have to be placed in such a way that there is an appropriate distance between pallets
and outside walls of buildings;
Correct locations of extremely dangerous products such as toxic, corrosive or
flammable products are of great importance for reducing fire loads. Such products
have to be located on especially designated places and separated from other areas;
In outdoor warehouses it is necessary to assure that there is no extra danger because
of the proximity of stored goods to external devices (transformers, cooling towers,
fuel reservoirs), buildings or power lines.
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1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
4. Oxygen
The most influent factors which can lead to fire ignition and fire spread are the type of the
warehouse and the design and layout of vertical and horizontal hollow spaces and openings.
Generally, indoor warehouses are designed with specific storage capacity. Because of the
financial reasons, warehouses are used up to their maximum which leads to high stacks with
minimum distance between them. In the case when warehouses do not have free horizontal
spaces and/or with spaces located above 2 m, more free space inside racks allows air to
circulate freely which helps fire spreading. On the other hand, if goods are denser on the
racks, the fire is less serious. Stable racks are less probable to collapse and because of that,
fix areas will be standing during fire where fire can spread easily. In the case of collapsing
racks, the fire can be controlled with less effort [3].
Waste has to be classified and placed in suitable containers. If possible, these containers
should be located outside production facilities and warehouses and to be distanced from
outside walls. In these cases, waste should be dealt with and removed in proper time periods.
Concentration of flammable materials has to be avoided in areas which are used for packing,
unpacking, classification etc. The amount of free space affects fire intensity. Palletized
storage means that pallets are organized in such a manner that they create free space at
intervals of 2 m. These free spaces improve fire spreading which is hard to extinguish.
Storing goods on shelves is considerably dangerous from the aspect of fire safety. This type
of storing increases the number of surfaces which can burn and enables bigger air flow
which helps combustion processes. Stored goods are kept in stable positions which also
helps fire spreading. This storing configuration, especially on great heights, means that water
from sprinklers cannot enter in free spaces or voids which are often narrow. The narrower
and higher the spaces are, the more difficult it is for water to enter them which extends fire
duration. Additionally, because of the lack of shelf connection to the floor or stable
warehouse construction, fire on one shelf can lead to its collapsing which can lead to domino
effect and to collapsing of nearby shelves.
Storing goods on racks is also dangerous because of the heights of the racks which can be up
to 50 m. Because of that height and narrow aisles and corridors, when fire breaks out on
lover levels, water from water sprinklers installed on the ceiling has difficulties to reach the
fire. Then it is necessary to manually extinguish fire by using fire hoses and fire
extinguishers which is quite risky because rapid fire spread can weaken metal racks because
steel changes its properties when the temperature hits 538o C [4].
The design and arrangement of vertical and horizontal hollow spaces and openings is
important. Vertical spaces include lift shafts, stairwells, interior courtyards and horizontal
include openings such as doors, forklift access and windows. The existence and arrangement
of these spaces is convenient for fire spread when the fire breaks out. Fire spread is also
supported by the lack of compartmentalization. Compartmentalization means separating
production and storing areas or separating two different areas in big warehouses. This helps
preventing that fire, gasses or fumes spread to other areas.
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1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
5. Risk vulnerability
Beside factors that are mentioned above, there are other factors that produce higher risks.
These factors include fragile nature of specified goods and the severity of the damage which
can be caused to the warehouse or goods by certain construction materials. These factors are
[1]:
•
•
•
•
•
The existence of electronic or precise equipment of great significance for the
company;
The existence of documents of great strategic value for the company;
Product that are subjected to damage due to combustion gasses or due to corrosion;
Luxury or valuable goods;
Food products such as fruit, vegetable and meet which are especially sensitive to
combustion fumes. They can suffer great damage if exposed to fumes. Further
complications exist with these products because of the usage of cold rooms for
storing before shipping them to final users. Sandwich panels that are used for
construction of these cold rooms represent an additional risk factor. Sandwich
panels are made of natural highly flammable organic materials such as polyurethane
and polystyrene. Beside that, when these panels burn, they produce highly toxic
fumes. The control and extinguishing these types of fires is very complex because of
the construction of these panels where organic material is placed between two sheet
metal parts. Even if water is sprinkled on the surface of these panels, the cooling
effect is not enough sufficient and the fire continues to burn inside.
There are also other factors which can increase the risk. They include the usage of
flammable or/and explosive cooling gasses such as ethane and prophane. The leakage in the
cooling circuit can produce highly flammable atmosphere which results with explosions.
These types of cooling gasses are not usually used in the food industry. Instead of them,
cooling gasses of high and medium safety are used. Typical example is ammonia. While its
flammability is low, its toxicity is high. It has a suffocating effect and it is estimated that the
maximum exposure to it without danger for humans is 25 ppm. This represents a higher risk
not only for people in the surroundings of cold rooms, but also for stored goods which can
get contaminated. In these cases, if employees are constantly present, regulations demand
installation of one or more ammonia detectors with the detection sensibility of 2% or
placement of emergency stop buttons which should be located outside.
Conveyor systems are often used in warehouses, especially where automatic order picking
systems are present. The drive mechanism presents the area with high risk. One of conveyor
systems types is the belt conveyor. The drive from the drive pulley to the belt is transferred
via friction. In case of bad contact conditions (low coefficient of friction between the drive
pulley and the belt, improper tensioning of the belt), belt slippage can occur which produces
excessive heating of the belt that can lead to fire breakouts. Because of that, it is
recommended to place automatic fire protection systems when using conveyor systems [4].
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O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
6. Additional risks due to external factors
External factors are those which can increase the risk level because of situations that are not
located in the warehouse. Usually, they are located in the surrounding of the warehouse.
Significant examples of these external factors are:
• Nearby buildings. Sometimes the origin of the fire is not in the warehouse itself, it is
in the nearby building. Presence of a firewall between buildings or different storing
areas can prevent fire spreading from the roof of one building to the roof of the
other building;
• Different roof heights on nearby buildings;
• Presence of trees and bushes around the warehouse can lead to fire spread inside the
warehouse. In ideal case, the surrounding of a warehouse should be free from
vegetation;
• Fires caused by persons that are not connected to the warehouse which is called
arson. This can happen because of the burning pallets which are placed outside the
warehouse, crates, cardboard waste and so on;
• Outside storage areas in warehouses are great risks. They are exposed to a high
number of fire sources such as lightning, fires caused by foreign persons, presence
of vegetation. Despite that, there are few cases where outside storage areas are
justified. It is justified when products do not demand fire protection like metal
barrels, when the products have low value, when the products have high fire risks
like empty pallets and when bulk products are stored in great amounts which
prevent them to be stored indoor, figure 3. Even in these cases, it is necessary to
estimate and consider certain conditions in order to provide proper protection. The
first estimation is required to secure that goods which are stored outside do not
represent danger which could lead to an interruption in normal business activities,
production stoppage or any kind of damage for third persons like nearby
companies. The second consideration refers to the location of stored goods. It has to
be ensured that by storing goods outside does not create the possibility of exposure
to fire danger for outside equipment (transformers, cold rooms and so on),
buildings, power lines, pipes etc.
Figure 3. Pallets stored outside
The outside storing area has to be properly lit and, if possible, equipped with safety fence in
order to prevent intrusions.
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1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
It is also important to consider the characteristics of stored goods. Stacks of materials must
have certain volume and height. It is not recommended to have volumes higher than 700 m3
or heights more than 6 m.
Empty pallets should be arranged in rectangular areas following next parameters:
•
•
•
•
•
Maximum storage height: h = 7 m;
Maximum length of the longest side of the rectangle: Lmax = 2h = 14 m;
Maximum surface of the rectangle: Smax = 100 m2;
Minimum distance between storage areas (aisle width): h/2 = 3.5 m;
Minimum distance from walls of buildings: same as maximum storage height or at
least 3 m.
It is necessary to secure proper width of aisles between stacks in order to provide the
possibility for manual fire extinguishing with fire hoses. It is important to have properly
placed fire extinguisher and to have water hydrants on distances that do not precede 80 m.
Adequate maintenance and periodic inspections of the area are necessary in order to provide
fulfillment of minimum safety conditions. Site security patrols should include outside
storing areas in order to detect any problems as fast as possible.
7. Fire protection measures
Fire protection measures installed in warehouses affect the ability of fire control and
extinguishing in a way to minimize possible consequences.
First measure which should be considered refers to construction material used for
warehouses. Because of high levels of heat-resistance, the most suitable materials are
concrete and steel covered with plaster or fibrous silicate panels or sprayed with layers of
perlite or vermiculite mortar. When steel is protected with intumescent paint, it has to be
ensured that the paint covers the entire construction. Also, it is very important for renew
paint on spots where hits occur. Such coatings are not resistant to long lasting or highly
intensive fires which can happen in warehouses.
Next preferred choice for construction material is the usage of big, massive wooden beams
because of their slow combustion and structural stability compared to uncoated steel
construction. Steel constructions without additional protection against fire are not advisable
to use because steel gets unstable when the surrounding temperature reaches 538o C [5].
Heat deformation of the construction can lead to roof collapsing or rack collapsing which
can fall on water pipes connected to sprinkler system. Water loss leaves sprinklers to be
useless which enables fire to be out of control. Constructions with flammable materials are
not advised to be used, like light wood, because of their fast combustion.
Other important factor is the warehouse ventilation system. In typical situations, fire spreads
in two directions: horizontally and vertically. When the fire spreads, heat rises vertically and
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1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
combustion gasses accumulate under the roof. Those gasses are extremely hot and that heat
can lead to roof and building collapsing. Experience with fires in warehouses suggests that
this type of problems can be solved by placing windows near the roof. Window glass will
break when the heat rises to the top and the heat will flee through broken windows without
damaging roof construction. This effect is more prominent in steel constructions than in
concrete constructions because of the better heat conducting abilities of steel. Generally,
ventilation provided by windows or opening in the higher parts of the warehouse is enough
to dissipate hot gasses.
At the end, active fire protection measures have to be carefully planned in order to circle the
fire protection system. Among them, the most important measures are:
•
•
Automatic detection systems installed in order to provide 24-hour fire detection
possibility. These systems have to be connected to alarm systems. It is important to
provide at least 1 m distance from fire detectors and stored good;
Automatic extinguishing systems are the best way to prevent fire spread in
warehouses. Sprinklers are proven to be very successful, but when certain fires
break out like fires occurring with plastics and or flammable liquids, additional
protection for the structured is required (coating and painting). Also, when
sprinklers are installed in the ceiling, water droplets can get evaporated due to hot
gasses. Because of that, sprinklers can be placed in intermediate levels of the racks,
figure 4.
Figure 4. Sprinklers placed in intermediate levels of racks
Design of sprinkler systems has to be according to current standards. For the design
to be adequate, it has to provide safety for shelves and racks, but not to stored goods
on them. That represents a fire risk. When planning sprinkler systems, it is important
to plan that the entire warehouse is protected and that any other building that is
connected to the warehouse is also protected. Building are not considered to be
connected when they are separated by walls which have a fire resistance level of at
least 60 min. Doors and other openings have to be designed to close by themselves
when fire breaks out. Their fire resistance has to be at least half of fire resistance of
separating walls. To provide proper safety and effectiveness of sprinkler systems,
the distance of the warehouse and flammable goods outside has to be at least 10 m
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1 6 t h I N T E RNAT IONA L C ON FE R E NC E
OF O C CU PAT IONA L HE A LTH A N D S A FE T Y
16th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
•
O hr i d , Nor th Mace d oni a
9 th — 12 th O c tob e r 2019
Ohrid, North Macedonia
9th-12th October 2019
or 1,5 times of the height of the stored goods. This can be ignored if there is a
separating wall with proper fire resistance;
Manual extinguishing equipment must include fire extinguishers, fire hose cabinets
and fire hydrants.
In order to ensure maximum effectiveness of fire protection systems, it is necessary to
provide proper maintenance of the equipment and installations and to provide proper
practical trainings for warehouse staff in the use of fire protection systems. Stored products
must never block the passage to fire extinguishing equipment. Maintenance musts be done
according to Regulations on Fire Protection Installations. Investment in fire protection
measures is sometimes useless because of the improper maintenance. The best way to evade
that is to secure proper training for maintenance staff. Less significant operations can be
done by warehouse maintenance staff, but for certain big operations, independent authorized
companies have to be responsible for carrying them out. Regarding to staff training, the most
important factor for fire detection and fire control is the human factor. Because of that, it is
necessary to train the staff and to enable them to fight fires when they are in the initial phase.
Beside that, it is important to develop and implement an emergency plan which includes
training activities involving annual fire drills.
8. Conclusion
Losses that occur during fire in warehouses can be extremely high due to the amount of
stored goods. Beside the loss of the goods, fires in warehouses represent danger for the staff
working in it, especially for staff members which get caught in middle of a spreading fire or
for staff members trained to fight fire at early stages. Fire breakouts can have severe
consequences on the reputation of the warehouse management. It can threaten future
business plans which can endanger recovery. Because of that, warehouses are very sensitive
to fire risk and in order provide proper safety in the warehouse, exceptional safety measures
have to be applied.
References
[1] Warehouse Safety Guide, Mapfre RE, Spain, 2008, https://bit.ly/2YHrxNh, (7th August
2019.)
[2] Tanubrata, M.,. Fire Safety Design in Building, Jurnal Teknik Sipil. 3. (2019), pp: 4153. DOI:10.28932/jts.v3i1.1271.
[3] Rasbash, D., Ramachandran, G., Kandola, B., Watts, J. and Law, M.: Performance of
Fire Safety Measures: In Evaluation of Fire Safety, (2006), DOI:
10.1002/0470020083.ch10
[4] Šostakov, R., Zelić, A., Živanić, D.: Occupational Safety and Protection with Internal
Transport Devices, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Novi Sad, Republic of Serbia, ISBN:
74651-54641745
[5] Zhao, J.C., Shen, Z.Y.: Experimental studies of the behaviour of unprotected steel
frames in fire, Journal of Constructional Steel Research. 50, (1999), pp. 137-150. DOI:
10.1016/S0143-974X(98)00246-6.
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