Hot Work Permit, Material Handling/Disposal, and Fire Protection/Prevention
By: Mia Liley, MBA, ARM, CRIS
Risk Control Consultant
When the paper shredder died, Tommy hastily implemented his back-up plan…the fireplace!
Tommy: Yeah, that’s it! I’ll just throw the papers in the fireplace.
He quickly became bored with discarding the papers one sheet at a time.
Tommy: “I’ll just toss all the papers in the fireplace”.
Lisa turned and said that that would not be a viable option, and resumed to washing dishes. Tommy continued to toss paper one sheet at a time, contemplating the next short cut. When she returned to check on his progress, Lisa noticed the plastic case of papers (used for comforter sets) was no longer planted in front of Tommy.
Lisa: “Where is the bag?”
She looked and saw the plastic comforter bag and all of its contents in the fireplace.
Lisa yelled: “You can’t put the bag in the fireplace”!
Tommy: “Why not, it’s plastic? It’s all gonna melt anyway. I don’t know what the big deal is”.
No sooner than she explained that the burning plastic will expel toxic fumes, Tommy was racing to open the sliding patio doors, to vent the smoke and fumes. After his indoor campfire, Lisa reminded Tommy that the ashes need to be cleared from the fireplace before the next use.
Hours later, Lisa called to Tommy “Is there smoke from the fireplace? I smell smoke up here in the bedroom and it’s very strong”.
Tommy said he was using the fireplace, and did not see any smoke backing up into the family room. He went upstairs to Lisa a few minutes later…..
Tommy: “You know that smell was getting kinda strong. Perhaps it was from using different types of wood in the fireplace. I put it out and placed the logs in the outdoor fire pit”.
When Lisa returned to the family room she noticed the smell and a haziness about the room. She went to the laundry room to investigate, and found it full of smoke. In a panic she opened the door leading to the garage to check the vehicles, but could not see anything through all the smoke. Lisa hit the garage door openers and summoned Tommy. She ran back through the family room, out of the front door, and around to the garage to see what was causing the smoke….. But still could not see anything.
A few minutes later….
Tommy: “WheeeeeeeeWWWWWWW! I sure am glad you went out to the garage!
Tommy: “The smoke was coming from the wet-vac. Apparently the ashes were still burning from when I cleaned out the fireplace.”
Tommy dumped the ashes from the wet-vac onto the driveway to extinguish the smoldering ashes with water.
After burning papers in the fireplace, Tommy used the heavy plastic wet-vac to suction the ashes.
Instead of properly disposing the ashes in a metal can, he used a heavy plastic wet-vac which began to melt from the hot ashes. The wet-vac was then improperly stored in the garage alongside their vehicles.