Skip to content

Clogged tumble-dryer exhaust fan – potential for fire

What happened

During a weekly inspection of the laundry room on a vessel, rags and lint twisted together were found in the exhaust fan of one of the dryers. Further investigation revealed more accumulated lint in the dryers’ outlet exhaust pipe. When the end of the outlet pipe was removed to check the inside, it was found to be almost completely blocked with lint.

Our member notes that it would only have taken a small spark, short circuit or static electricity inside the drying machine for there to have been a fire.

What went wrong

There was no regular checking or cleaning of filters and exhaust ducting. Build-up of dust and residue inside the exhaust ducting could have caused the safe operational temperature limits of the dryer to be exceeded, with the possible consequence of a fire.

What needs to be done

  • Ensure regular check and clean of tumble dryer exhausts and filters;
  • Regular check of ventilation pipes and systems which may create lint traps where lint accumulates over a long period of time, creating a potential fire hazard;
  • Ensure design and installation of tumble dryers enables easy and full access to exhaust ducting and filters.

Members may wish to refer to

Safety Event

Published: 21 December 2022
Download: IMCA SF 29/22

Relevant life-saving rules:
IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

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 ( 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.