Figure 1. Fire extinguishing system specialist inspecting high pressure
CO2 system on vessel.
Fixed fire extinguishing systems on vessels and vessel
sections may create a dangerous atmosphere when such systems are accidentally
activated. Several accidents involving fixed fire extinguishing systems have
resulted in fatal injury. When employees must work in a space on a vessel
that is protected by a fixed fire extinguishing system, specific requirements must
be followed. These include:
The following identify potential hazards and requirements:
- Isolating the system or otherwise prudent discharge.
- Training workers on precautions when entering a
space with an armed system.
- Working with an extinguishing system.
|Fire Extinguishing System
Hazards on Board Vessels
Figure 2. Schematic of high pressure CO2 fire
extinguishing system used on vessel.
Figure 3. Schematic of low pressure CO2 fire
extinguishing systems used on vessel.
- Accidental discharge of fire extinguisher.
- Miscommunication and coordination with:
- Ship owner and prime contractor
- Prime contractor and subcontractor
Requirements and Example Solutions:
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- When active fixed extinguishing systems
could create a dangerous atmosphere in vessels and
vessel sections: [1915.506(a)]
- Physically isolate the system or use other positive means to prevent the
systems' discharge. [1915.506(b)(1)]
- Ensure that employees are trained to recognize: [1915.506(b)(2)]
- Systems' discharge, evacuation alarms and appropriate escape routes. [1915.506(b)(2)(i)]
- Hazards associated with the extinguishing systems and agents including the
dangers of disturbing system components and equipment (such as piping,
cables, linkages, detection devices, activation devices, and alarm devices).
- During sea and dock trials, all systems must remain operational.
Ensure that: [1915.506(c)]
- All doors, hatches, scuttles, and other exit openings remain working
and accessible for escape in the event that the systems are activated. [1915.506(d)(1)]
- All inward opening doors, hatches, scuttles, and other potential
barriers to safe exit are removed, locked open, braced, or otherwise secured.
- When testing a fixed extinguishing system, all workers must be
evacuated from the space during discharge. Oxygen level must be tested to ensure
safe conditions prior to workers reentering the space. [1915.506(e)]
- Fixed extinguishing system must be physically isolated before conducting maintenance on
the system. [1915.506(f)]
- When fixed
manual extinguishing systems are used to provide fire protection for spaces
in which work must be performed, ensure that: [1915.506(g)]
- Only authorized workers are allowed to activate the system. [1915.506(g)(1)]
- Authorized workers are trained to operate and activate the systems. [1915.506(g)(2)]
- All workers are evacuated from the protected spaces, and accounted for,
before the fixed manual extinguishing system is activated. [1915.506(g)(3)]
Maritime Labor/Industry Recommendations
Figure 4. Activating mechanism for halon extinguishing system.
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- When a fire extinguishing system is active:
- Post signs at gangway and space.
- Provide emergency escape respirators should be provided.
- Maintain a sign in and out log.
- Lock and tagout when working on the system.
- Evaluate and assess hazards of halon used in the extinguishing
system (Figure 4).
- Sample Fire Safety Plans.
Shipbuilders Council of America, (2006).
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