ANPI, the Belgian association for fire and intrusion protection, recently developed a fire risk assessment tool for electrical rooms in industrial environments, where each room or piece of electrical equipment is considered in term of its fire safety, its intrinsic safety and its essential nature for the company’s activity.
The aim of this tool is above all to compare different situations and not to extrapolate the global results to all the premises and electrical equipment of a company; in this case, more safety factors would have to be considered.
The level of safety is not something that can be taken for granted and permanent.
The law of 4 August 1996 on well-being at work requires dynamic safety management, the correction of negative points and the regular evaluation of the taken measures. With this tool, ANPI offers an easier assessment method to safety officers and managers, better suited to the risks inherent in electrical premises and substations.
From our inspectors’ experience, it appears that the most significant shortcomings concern codes compliance, in particular to the requirements for maintenance, initial inspection at commissioning and periodic inspection of installations by third-party organisations. These common non-conformities to the standards are considered by this method and have a direct impact on the weighting given to a room or a substation.
This method is dedicated to assess substations, high-voltage cabins, rooms with transformers, control rooms and similar equipments and rooms.
The developed model:
- assesses both the fire risk due to the condition of the room, the electrical equipment, the configuration of the installation and the consequent risk to the company in the event of loss of the equipment or installation;
- is relevant to both new and existing installations;
- takes a proactive approach;
- easily highlights shortcomings and deficiencies, in particular those linked to the lack of maintenance or inspection by a third party on automatic fire protection installations, which gives a false sense of security and de facto imply the non-compliance of these installations with the standards.
By using a checklist, the user can determine the highest risks from the scores obtained, analyse the causes and improve the lowest scores by implementing additional material and/or organisational protection measures.
The score obtained for each room makes it possible to determine the acceptable or unacceptable level of the means implemented and determine if fixed fire extinguishing systems, which can be very costly, are required or not.
How to apply the method
Use the checklist table:
- under the headings “Subject” and “Criterion”, the various points to be checked are listed;
- under the heading “Observation”, the findings made on site in relation to the subject and the criteria to be checked;
- under the heading “Parameter & weight”, the various scores that are applicable;
- the real score will be reported in the “Points” column.
The requirements for electrical rooms are mostly based on Belgian regulations, insurers requirements and contracts but also on the experience of our inspectors in auditing and controlling fire protection installations for over 50 years.
Why a specific fire risk assessment method?
This checklist provides a quantified assessment of the fire risk in a specific electrical room or substation. This makes it possible:
- to compare the risk level of several premises or substations of the same type within a company;
- to homogenise the approach by determining the main points of attention to be assessed, to determine the weaknesses;
- and ultimately to resolve the identified shortcomings.
The publication “Fire risk assessment method for electrical rooms in industrial environments” is available in French and Dutch on https://www.anpi.be/en.
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