OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 10 Fire and Explosion Hazards

Section 165 Protective procedures and precautions in hazardous locations

Subsections 165(1) and 165(2)


Subsection 165(3)

Static electricity is always present in the industrial setting. Examples of typical situations likely to produce static electricity are:

(a) the use of conveyor belts in which non-conductive materials move over or between pulleys and rollers;

(b) pulverized materials or dusts passing through chutes or being conveyed pneumatically;

(c) the flow of fluids through pipes or conduits, or from orifices into tanks or containers;

(d) the flow of gases from orifices; and

(e) the general accumulation of static charge on workers at the workplace, particularly when they wear overalls made of synthetic materials.

When transferred into or out of containers, flammable liquids can cause a static charge to build up on the container. This charge may result in a spark being created that ignites the liquid or its vapours. Effective control of static electricity can include actions such as grounding and bonding.

For more information
Guidelines for the Control of Static Electricity in Industry
Department of Labour, New Zealand

Subsection 165(4)

If a hazardous location (as defined) is a particular work area at a work site, the boundaries of the hazardous location must be

(a) clearly identified to warn workers of the nature of the hazards associated with the presence of the flammable substance in that work area. Effective signage that warns workers of the hazards as they approach the work area is one way of meeting the requirement; or

(b) fenced off to prevent workers or equipment entering the area without authorization.

Subsections 165(5) and 165(6)

Subsection 165(5) and 165(6) are to be taken together. The conditional “if reasonably practicable” of subsection 165(5) is understood to apply to the prevention of an inadvertent release of a flammable substance or oxygen gas. The written procedures and precautionary measurers are a required element of subsection 165(5). It is always practicable to develop the required procedures and precautionary measurers.

In those cases where it is not reasonably practicable to prevent an inadvertent release of a flammable substance or oxygen gas, an employer must comply with the requirements of subsection 165(6). Subsection 165(6) acknowledges that a release has happened and requires the employer to prevent an explosive atmosphere from igniting.