Factory Evacuation

Safety bulletin outlining the precautions to be taken when evacuating a factory 



                                        Safety Alert



Ref No 



Near Miss

Smoke Leads to Factory Evacuation



Distribution:       Work Place notice boards together with discussion at safety meetings.



Subcontract welders were carrying out work under our supervision on a chill plant at a chicken-processing factory. They were working to both the clients permit-to-work and hot work procedures. An earthed welding bench was being used, the area had been cleared of combustible material, the smoke and heat detectors had been disabled in the area and fire extinguishers were provided.


Before leaving the work area for lunch the contractors placed the TIG welding torch, the welding mask and their overalls on the bench. They also left the welding equipment switched on. Whilst the plant room was unattended, somehow, the torch overheated causing its plastic cover and the adjacent welders mask to ignite. The resulting smoke and fumes entered the roof void above the factory and activated the smoke detectors, which led to an evacuation.


The clients engineer extinguished the fire, and apart from the minor damage to the torch and welding mask no damage was caused to personnel or the fabric of the building. However, the client may have suffered losses due to the interruption of production and may consider that a claim for damages is appropriate.


Had more combustibles or flammable materials been in the area the consequences could have been catastrophic. Therefore, please consider this incident as a near miss.


In order to avoid a reoccurrence the following is essential:

•    Remember to switch off welding and other electrical equipment when unattended, and
•    Remind yourself of the contents of the Hot Work Policy.




Last modified: Thursday, 4 July 2013, 9:40 AM