Cloths used for general galley cleaning were removed from a tumble dryer, immediately folded and piled in a steel bucket. Three hours later they were stowed in a cupboard. After a further three hours (six hours after removing the cloths from the dryer) a burning smell and the presence of smoke were reported. Upon investigation, the cloths were found smouldering. Immediate action was taken, and no further damage was noted.
What went wrong? What were the causes?
- Following the fire, it was discovered that the cloths were still contaminated. This indicates that the items had been washed at the wrong temperature (40Â° instead of 90Â°) to reduce the wash time. This was not sufficient for them to be fully cleaned;
- Either the cloths were removed from the tumble dryer prior to completion of the full cool down cycle or the wrong temperature setting was used (too high). As a result, the hot contaminated cloths were not cooled before being stowed. This led to them starting to smoulder.
What actions were taken? What lessons were learned?
- Ensure items are washed at suitable temperatures to remove residue;
- Ensure that the correct temperature setting is selected and that cool-down cycles are completed when using tumble dryers;
- Hot laundry should never be folded and stowed. Allow suitable time for cooling down;
- Discard cloths that can no longer be cleaned;
- Reiterate these lessons to all catering crew.
IMCA notes that this is an ‘evergreen’ safety issue that has come up often before. Our members may wish to bring this potentially serious issue once again to the attention of their management and crew.
Please see the following:
IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.
IMCA’s store terms and conditions (https://www.imca-int.com/legal-notices/terms/) apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.
IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.