Small Fire Ignites in Aerosol Generator during HEPA Filter Testing in RPL

Image for Small Fire Ignites in Aerosol Generator during HEPA Filter Testing in RPL

Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA


Topics:  Fire Protection, Work Management/Planning

Power Operators at the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory were performing efficiency testing of High Efficiency Particulate Air filters in the facilitys ventilation system using a "hot" aerosol generator when smoke and oil vapor at the discharge port created a small flame. The Power Operators disconnected the electrical supply and smothered the flame. The System Engineer paused work and called 375-2400 to report the event. No emergency response was required, no one was hurt, and the fire was confined to the aerosol generator. The flame was likely ignited after the generator was moved to check and refill the oil reservoir, although it is designed to run for four hours without needing a refill. Lessons Learned: A pre-job was held but the Preventative Maintenance package did not cover the safety guidelines contained in the generator operators manual related to the potential fire hazard. The Power Operators were required to read the operators manual. Assure workers are trained adequately on the equipment they are operating and that they understand the manufacturers instructions and warnings.

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