Cold work surface preparation, particularly in explosive areas, was the focus of attention for 95 global members of the maritime industry who recently attended a webinar organised by the IMarEST UAE Branch.
Ship managers are expected to carry out essential maintenance safely and keep their vessels in a seaworthy condition. As part of this maintenance, sometimes hot work needs to be carried out and this is a high-risk activity involving sources of ignition which may cause a flammable gas mixture to explode. Hot work traditionally includes heating or spark generating tools which are not certified for use in hazardous areas. Detailed approved procedures must be developed for hot work and incorporated into the Safety Management System of ships.
During the webinar. Tonny Berge, Technical Sales Manager at Safety Tools Allmet, de-mystified the markings on ATEX certificates and shed light on the relevance of the ATEX Gas and Dust zones. He provided a reality check on workplace health and safety and enlightened attendees on the ill-effects for workers when using vibration tools for extended periods. Kjetil Olsen, Global Business and Marketing Director, presented on a video from Safety Tools Allmet premises in Bergen, to give his ‘take’ on class certified ATEX equipment that enables safe and risk free grinding, cutting and surface preparations. He eloquently ensured participants were able to appreciate that there was a better alternative to performing hot work onboard in the form of cold cutting and grinding.
After this, Leroy Dias, Managing Director of SteelCorr Dubai, the exclusive Middle East agent for Safety Tools Allmet, underlined the importance of surface cleanliness and a suitable surface profile for a sound paint application. He brought to light the fact that conventional surface preparation tools can increase the steel temperature to over 250 deg C which ‘fries’ the paint system in the vicinity since the maximum temperature tolerance of most paints is 150 deg C. To prevent damage to local paint, there was consensus on the need to utilise appropriate preparation tools.
Nikeel Idnani, Honorary Secretary of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology UAE branch, who moderated the engaging discussion, remarked, “Safety is upheld as being sacrosanct for the sustainability of the maritime industry and appropriate equipment plays a critical role in maintaining that status quo. Safety Tools Allmet, while understanding you are running a business, are nonetheless doing the shipping world a considerable service by providing pragmatic working solutions safeguarding life, property and the marine environment.”