Hazards exist while employing machinery. Drying machines poses potential fire hazards. These systems must be properly maintained to ensure safety.
A small fire developed in a dryer onboard a cruise ship. The fire was quickly extinguished by the vessel’s crew and caused no significant damage. A minor spark occurred due to a loose or disconnected wire, igniting lint in the spaces under the dryer and then the rags in the dryer drum. Thermostats, thermistors, and other electrical components were destroyed
- A built-in fire suppression system, a component of the dryers designed to spray water into the drums in case of fire, had been disabled on all six of the vessel’s installed dryers.
- The prominent factor was lack of maintenance, inspections and evaluations of this fire suppression equipment.
- The processes and procedures related to these suppression systems indicated they were not included in the vessel’s maintenance systems such as “Infoship.”
- Lack of clarity of maintenance specifications for the Galley Service Technicians and the Electrical Department.
Let’s take a look at the common reasons for Dryer fires:
- Laundry systems and the normal production of dryer lint create significant fire hazards due to the flammability of the lint.
- Majority of dryer fires are caused by spontaneous combustion of residual soils, paint, edible oils, etc.
- Human errors or negligence such as
- Leaving dried materials unattended in the dryer;
- Not properly washing, rinsing and extracting clothes;
- Not cooling down dryer loads for ten minutes at ambient temperatures;
- Improper cleaning lint traps;
- Damaged lint traps.
- Proper operation of automatic temperature controls, timing devices, cool down cycles and the absence of fire sensing and smothering devices must be ensured.
Recommendations for safe laundry operations:
- Re-evaluate the risks associated with the equipment;
- Identify and maintain all associated safety equipment and extinguishing systems;
- Establish clear lines of responsibility for equipment inspections, maintenance, and repair;
- Prohibit all personnel from overriding safety components;
- Consider the necessity of additional signage and instructions in proper languages.