|Installing “Fire Fan” on sealed asphalt plant house
The Darwent Asphalt Plant is located within a sealed building. This results in a build up of both heat and fine respirable dust with a high concentration of silica creating a hazardous environment. Operators undertaking repair and maintenance work were required to use respiratory protection suits which were uncomfortable to wear at air temperatures of +40 C. Furthermore, the fire brigade had identified potential casualty recovery difficulties in the event of a fire due to smoke build up.
Having identified these issues, the site staff was involved in the process of developing a solution. It was decided to install a blower fan onto the side of the building that would purge contaminated air and to a system that would produce a fine mist of water that would encapsulate particulate matter, help control the spread of a fire. The system is activated prior to maintenance staff entering the building or by the fire alarm.
• Total respirable dust reduced from 3.86 to 1.09 mg/m3 8 hour TWA
• Respirable crystalline silica reduced from 0.27 to 0.12 mg/m3 8 hour TWA.
• Air temperatures maintained below 24 C while the fan is operating.
• Temperature reduction achieved within 7 minutes
• Visually, all fumes are evacuated within 2 minutes.
• Respiratory protection is no longer required
• Safer environment for operators
• Improved dust control and housekeeping standards
• Better control of risks in event of fire
• Improved morale and sense of pride in what has been achieved.