Heater Tapes

Safety bulletin outlining the precautions to be taken when installing heater tapes 



Safety Alert



Ref No 




Misuse of Heater Tapes



Distribution:       Workplace notice boards together with discussion at safety meetings



Recently, in three separate incidents heater tapes fitted to cooler drains overheated. Two of these incidents caused a fire, and the third caused a plastic conduit to melt.


In the first incident, an unregulated "Jimmi Heat" type tape was wrapped around a metal cold store drainpipe. The pipe was then insulated with polystyrene. The insulation subsequently caught fire and as a result a cold store panel was also damaged.


In the second incident an internal heater (Parallel circuit heater tape.) was used inside a plastic drain for a chill cooler. The 30 W/m tape was overlapped in the drain where it overheated and set the plastic drain on fire. The heater did not have an earth braid.


In the third incident a near miss occurred where a 40 W/m tape was routed through plastic electrical conduit from the electrical terminal box on the outside of the store. The tape was found to be melting the conduit. A fire could have resulted. Again, the heater tape selected did not have an earth braid.


Clearly, each of the above cases could have resulted in a much more serious incident (Fire or electrocution).  Please ensure that tapes on the plant you visit and maintain are fitted correctly and are the right type.


Self-Limiting Heater Tapes: -


•    Produce about 14 W/m and can be cut to any length.
•    Suitable for wrapping around metal pipes or drains
•    Must not be fitted inside a drain
•    Do not have an earth braid

Parallel Circuit Tapes: -

•    Produce up to 40 W/m and are made to order in the length you require
•    Both ends of the tape remain unheated. The length of these cold ends can be selected between 250 and 800mm when ordering
•    Only use inside a metal drain
•    Ensure the tape has an earth braid and is connected to earth
•    Do not overlap
•    Do not kink
•    Do not double them back
•    Ensure adequate length of cold end - to avoid the third incident situation above  
•    Select correct length tape in order to avoid overlaps, kinks, doubling back or curling up


Ensure that metal pipes or drains are bonded to earth




Last modified: Thursday, 4 July 2013, 9:44 AM