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Fire suppression for heavy plant and machinery

By Adrian Simmonds
Senior Risk Manager

The risk of fire is always present on plant and machinery used in heavy industries such as mining and quarrying, forestry, waste and recycling, logistics, construction and agriculture.

Heavy equipment will commonly be powered by internal combustion engines or hydraulic power packs and will be of a mobile or static configuration. Mobile equipment includes the likes of excavators, wheeled loaders and cranes whereas shredders and electrical generators are most often considered static.

Fires on heavy plant and machinery

Heavy plant fires do happen. The risk of fire is always present due to the large amounts of flammable liquids used on a piece of plant, numerous ever-present ignition sources, high operating temperatures and arduous working conditions.

Heavy plant fires are commonly caused when combustible debris or flammable liquids meet a superheated surface such as turbochargers, other exhaust components, braking systems or seized bearings.

Combustible fuel sources can build up naturally over time whilst working in and around environmental debris such as wood chips, household waste and coal dust, whereas flammable fuels could be the result of a damaged or defective hydraulic or fuel line.

Electrical short circuits may also result in a fire scenario commonly caused by faulty or damaged wiring or components.

Precious minutes spent waiting for emergency services is all a fire needs to take hold, destroy a piece of plant, cause consequential damage to its surroundings, and danger to life.

At QBE, we recommend that mobile and static plant that are critical to your business and that could be major fire risks to your operation because of how and where they are used, should be fitted with automatic fire suppression.

Free factsheet

To help businesses be more prepared, we’ve produced a free factsheet with information on:

  • Fire suppression systems
  • Approvals
  • Specification and risk assessment
  • Maintenance
  • Operator responsibilities

You can download our Fire suppression for heavy plant and machinery guidance here.

Risk management services for QBE customers

QBE helps businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance.

Depending upon the size and complexity of the business needs, QBE customers can access a wide range of risk management services, self-assessment questionnaires and risk management toolkits which are focused on the key causes of claims, and on generating action plans for improved outcomes - including protecting employees, reducing risk and making claims less likely. You can find out more about how QBE helps businesses to manage risk here.

Need to claim? Report it early

Finally, a reminder that if you have an incident and need to make an insurance claim, it’s important that you report it as soon as possible, ideally the same day. Reporting a claim early can save time and help you to receive any claim payments faster, as well as allowing us to help mitigate the cost of third-party claims.


Your contact

Your contact

Adrian Simmonds

Adrian Simmonds

Practice Leader