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Case Studies » British Airways Engineering

The challenge

A visit was made to British Airways Interiors Engineering (BAIE) site near Blackwood, South Wales in October 2013, and again in 2017, to consider compliance with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). BAIE are a discrete part of British Airways Engineering and they occupy purpose-built premises located in a small business park in South Wales.

The main building is of steel-framed construction with a metal-clad exterior and extends to circa 10000m2. Ongoing plant operations also include maintenance of safety equipment associated with a range of modern aircraft. Process plant, equipment and associated gases, chemicals or maintenance components are situated at various points around the site including extensive volumes of highly flammable paints and thinners.

There are around 250 people employed on the site.

The solution provided

On site are a range of substances that need to be considered as part of a DSEAR assessment; these included paints, solvents, compressed gas cylinders and fine dusts.

Many hazardous substances identified above present a flammable hazard and it was identified to BAIE that combustible dust is a significant hazard associated with sanding operations and LEV equipment.

Most of the paints in use contain highly flammable components and along with thinners will readily ignite - thus may present a risk of fire / explosion.

A thorough risk assessment was completed for BAIE and identified key areas where improvements were needed. A particular concern surrounded flammable inventory levels and solvent / waste transfer techniques as well as the efficiency of extract ventilation systems.

Hazardous zoning requirements were clearly defined and an action plan issued to management to assist the business to achieve DSEAR compliance.