11. HEALTH AND SAFETY
The health and safety section of Volume I concentrated mainly
on tool-related safety. With this volume the risks are more complex,
and the variety of systems described makes it difficult to pinpoint
particular risks. In general...
- Beware of all electrical systems. Before cutting a wire be
sure you know what you are cutting. For safety's sake always wear
plastic or rubber gloves and use insulated cutters.
- Do not cut fuel pipes unless absolutely necessary.
- With pneumatic systems, beware incase there is still pressure
in the system. If in doubt use a bradawl or small drill to make
a hole and release any pressurise before cutting.
- Beware when cutting hydraulic systems that the pipe is not
under pressure - as noted above drill first if in doubt. Also,
beware that the cutting of a pipe does not release the pressure
that is holding the machine - the machine could move or jibs could
drip on you.
- Do not wear baggy clothes or allow you hair to wave about
- they may get caught in machinery and cause you injury, or trap
- Do not cut any 'safety' systems such as brakes, fire alarms,
- Never climb any structure or equipment where you may fall,
or become trapped.
- IF IN DOUBT ABOUT THE EFFECT OF ANY ACTION - DON'T DO IT!!
In relation to the previous section on combustion, there are very
specific safety rules...
- Do not initiate any fire where you cannot be sure of limiting
the effects to a small, specific area.
- Do not start a fire where large quantities of fuel or chemicals
- When cutting/grinding match heads, cut the coating from the
wood with a sharp knife. To grind use the back of a wooden spoon,
on a wooden surface, to press down. Move the spoon slowly - do
not bang it down. Always make sure that you never grind more than
one or two heaped teaspoons of heads at a time in case they catch
fire. Never store more than a cup full of ground heads in the
same place. Always wear gloves.
- If you need to grind ammonium fertiliser, use the same precautions
as for match heads. Always wear gloves when handling the material.
- When mixing ammonium nitrate, charcoal and sugar, never mix
more than a kilo at a time. Carefully stir the contents together
inside a metal saucepan using a wooden spoon. When stirred, transfer
directly to a plastic bag and seal it. Never store the powder
in close proximity to match heads until you set up the device,
and never put either match heads or powder in a bag where they
will clanks and bang together with your tools. Preferably put
them in a box which is impact resistant.
- Never keep petrol or solvents in a plastic bottle.
- Never connect the battery to an electrically fused system
unless you have first checked that the switches are not active.
The other main precaution must be to ensure that your activities
do not in themselves cause environmental pollution. Opening the
pipes on a large fuel storage tank could cause massive pollution.
Likewise setting fire to a farmer's barn full of pesticides could
create a major catastrophe.
As well as the common sense things like not releasing fuel, always
remember that you actions could cause problems later. If you cut
power cables, and short the wires because your cutters were not
sharp, when the systems is turned on you could cause a short that
might start a fire. For safety's sake, it is a good idea to develop
some sort of calling card to tell people you were there, or at
least use a marker pen to leave a warning to the owners/operators.
As noted previously, the most important thing to take with
you is your common sense
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