The HSA has issued a safety alert following a recent serious accident. A person carrying out hot work on an ‘empty’ metal drum (200L) containing waste residue was fatally injured when the drum exploded.

This alert is aimed at persons who may cut up or repair drums, tanks or other containers as part of their work.
To avoid any risk, persons who require drums, barrels or any containers for storage of scrap or other material should not adapt old barrels / containers for use, but should purchase propriety containers from reputable suppliers.

Lehane Environmental can assist Companies in complying with this important Safety Alert. We supply a range of new UN Approved Packaging including 220 litre Steel Drums. Also it is important to note that drums containing residues of oils and chemicals retain their hazardous classification and as such must be consigned to a Hazardous Waste Facility for disposal/recovery. Again, Lehane Environmental can dispose of all forms of residue packaging and provide appropriate certification for the transport and disposal/recovery. Contact our Office on 021-4351020.

Hot Work
Hot work is any process that generates flames, sparks or heat – it includes welding, cutting, grinding and sawing.
Drums or tanks which appear to be empty may contain sufficient residues of flammable material to cause an explosion when heated and turned into vapour.
Flammable liquids and vapours come in many forms such as diesel, petrol, fuel oil, paints, solvents, glues, lacquers and cleaning agents. If a welding torch, gas cutting torch, electric arc, powered cutter or any heat source is applied to a drum or tank (either sealed or open) containing flammable material (solid, liquid, vapour) the drum or tank can explode violently.
Never apply heat to any drum, tank or container before ascertaining its contents and assessing the risk of fire and explosion. Even a tea spoon of flammable liquid in a drum can be enough to cause an explosion.
Hot work should not be carried out unless it is authorised and supervised by an experienced and competent supervisor, who has knowledge of the work, the risks involved and precautions to be taken.

Risk Assessment
Before carrying out any hot work, Employers must carry out an assessment of the risks. Other safer options should be considered such as:
Replacing, rather than repairing and
Using cold cutting or cold repair techniques.
If hot work is required the risks may be avoided by using a specialist company or reduced by using methods such as gas-freeing, cleaning or inerting before hot working.

Drums, barrels, tanks or other containers should not be repaired or cut up unless absolutely necessary and then after the operator has received adequate training in the risks involved and precautions to be taken.

Lehane Environmental can provide the following services to assist in complying with this Safety Alert;Gas Testing of Tanks, Pipes, Drums and Containers
Cleaning and Gas Freeing of Tanks, Pipes, Drums and Containers
Collection and Licensed Disposal of Drums containing residues of Oils and Chemicals
Cold Cutting of Tanks and Pipelines under controlled conditions
Supply of New and Reconditioned UN Approved Packaging including Steel Drums

Please contact our office on 021 4351020 for assistance with any of your specific requirements