Fire safety standards for mobile transport owners and operators have been changed under the revised Australian Standard AS 5062-2016 Fire protection for mobile and transportable equipment.
With changes to maintenance procedures (including routine service tolerance frequencies and baseline data reporting requirements), the revised standard promotes improved fire safety for mobile plant used in transport, mining, forestry, civil works and port facilities.
“The combination of heat, flammable liquids, turbo chargers, and hot exhaust and electrical components in an enclosed engine compartment can put vehicles at a high potential risk of a devastating and costly fire,” Steve Oxley, from fire protection specialist Wormald, said.
“A vehicle fire suppression system can provide early detection to allow extra time for the operator to safely evacuate in the event of a fire and help to minimise damage to the vehicle. Wormald urges mobile equipment owners and operators to adopt AS5062-2016 as best practice and familiarise themselves with the revised standard.”
AS 5062-2016 specifies the minimum requirements for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of vehicle fire suppression systems. It is intended to be applied to new equipment, and can also be applied to existing equipment for maintenance activities.
The key changes include:
- New provisions for tolerance testing and routine service, which have been introduced from Australian Standard AS1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment. These specify how often equipment must be serviced and outline tolerance periods should routine servicing occur outside the scheduled date.
- Additional reporting requirements are now in place. The Standard specifies the requirement for ‘Baseline Data’ to be provided for any installed fire protection systems and equipment. This data provides benchmark performance criteria and includes details on how the system is installed, what it is designed for and how it is intended to perform.
It is later compared to the results of subsequent periodic servicing activities to determine whether the fire protection system is still performing as per its intended purpose.
A consultative risk assessment approach still forms part of AS5062-2016. Risk assessments should be undertaken by qualified personnel in conjunction with many stakeholders, such as equipment operators and maintainers, owners, the manufacturer’s representative, suppliers, hirers, insurers and specialist fire consultants may also be involved, as applicable.
This process recognises that fire hazards and risks associated with mobile and transportable equipment are often too complex to be fully understood by one person.
Wormald is calling on operators to familiarise and adopt the new changes, highlighting vehicle fire suppression systems as a way to provide early detection of fires.