Don’t Let Your Drying Machine to Fry


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

Reason identified:

  • 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.

Source: USCG