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How PPE works: Fire and thermal protection

What happened?

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has published a report of a fire on an offshore production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in burn injuries to three workers.

All three individuals were reported to have been wearing safety glasses, hard hats and flame resistant clothing (FRC), although at least one was believed to have rolled up his sleeves. Their injuries were described as a combination of first and second degree burns to their hands, forearms, neck and face. The BSEE considers that the proper use of appropriate PPE likely prevented additional injuries. The initial report can be found on the BSEE website.

Lessons learnt

  • Are YOU and your personnel all wearing proper PPE where the potential exists for thermal exposure from fire?
  • Ensure that the PPE selected for the job reflects the probable and possible hazards of the job. Are you wearing the correct PPE?
  • BSEE recommend reference to:
  • NFPA 2113, Standard on Selection, Care, Use and Maintenance of Flame- Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Short-Duration Thermal Exposures from Fire;
  • Occupational Safety and Health Standard (OSHA) 1910.132 for Personal Protective Equipment.

Other standards and guidance will be applicable outside the United States.

Members may wish to refer to the following incidents, both cases in which PPE prevented things being much worse:

Safety Event

Published: 25 May 2017
Download: IMCA SF 12/17

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.

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