Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has issued a Safety Bulletin following the severe injury of an employee onsite after an e-cigarette battery ignited in the mine employees pocket while he was in a vehicle with two other colleagues.
Described as fireworks going off and flying around inside the ute the incident has highlighted a need for all workplaces to review their policies and instructions regarding the use and carrying of e-cigarettes onsite, particularly in dangerous goods or confined spaces workplaces.
The DMIRS outlined that in addition to exposing individuals to the risk of serious injury or death, the “consequences of an e-cigarette battery explosion and fire in an underground mine or in the vicinity of an explosives magazine or fuel facility, are potentially catastrophic”.
This incident comes after an incident in January in a shopping centre car park, where an e-cigarette explosion inside a parked car started a fire that destroyed the car and damaged seven other vehicles in the area, the regulator says.
In the US the risk is being more clearly understood following a recent study which found at least 2,000 people visited hospital emergency rooms with e-cigarette burns or explosion-related injuries in the two years to 2017.
The DMIRS bulletin points duty holders to a US news video showing e-cigarette devices exploding in pockets:
NSW e-Cigarette Fact Sheet – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Factsheets/e-cigs-are-they-safe.pdf
DMIRS Significant Incident Report – http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Documents/Safety/MSH_SIR_284.pdf
DMIRS Safety Bulletin – http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Documents/Safety/MSH_SB_182.pdf