Hazard Construction materials: Transport
Knowledge and understanding
|Construction materials: Transport||
Understand all associated hazard knowledge
Fuel systems will be present in many modes of transport, presenting the hazards that are generally associated with fuel. Some modes of transport also carry large volumes of fuel as cargo.
For further information refer to Utilities and fuel: Flammable or explosive atmospheres.
Materials compromised through impact, or through processes introduced by personnel, can result in hazards including:
- Stored energy within structural members
- Sharp edges
- Loose fibres
- Composite dust
The construction materials, or the combination of them, may impact on the ability of personnel to effectively manage an incident involving a mode of transport.
Some materials are introduced to the mode of transport to provide greater energy management and strength; however their presence may be hidden in the main construction or shell. Even if the mode of transport appears to be made of a single type of material, other materials may be included in its construction; these will also need to be considered when determining the hazards at an incident.
Construction materials may produce harmful gases, vapours and particulates if damaged. Some materials may plume following a crash and be carried considerable distances downwind.
Being the most commonly-used type of material in the construction of modes of transport, it should be assumed that various metals will be present at all transport incidents. This will have an impact on extrication activities, especially where the integrity of the mode of transport has been compromised due to instability.
The most common metals, and their alloys, used in the construction of modes of transport are:
- Steel, including:
- Ultra-high strength steel, such as boron steel
- Dual-phase steel
- Low-alloy steel
Metals used in the construction of modes of transport may present hazards, including:
- Sharp edges
- Restricted access and egress
- Impact injuries
- Damage to equipment
- Sudden fracturing of structural component
Glass in modes of transport is usually marked to indicate its type, for example:
- Designated as a means of escape, such as in buses where it can be broken using a hammer or device
Other high-strength materials are often used in construction, including:
- Hybrid polymers
Fibre-reinforced composite materials and machine-made mineral fibres (MMMF)
Fibre-reinforced composite materials are used in the construction of modes of transport, including:
- Carbon fibre reinforced plastic
- Aramid fibre reinforced plastic (such as Kevlar® and Nomex®)
- Glass fibre reinforced plastic
Machine-made mineral fibres (MMMF) are also used in the construction of modes of transport; they fall into five main types:
- Mineral wools
- Ceramic fibres
- Refractory fibres
- Special purpose ‘superfine’ fibres
Further information can be found at Health and Safety Executive: Man-made mineral fibres (MMMF).
There are workplace exposure limits, under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations, for the fibres contained in fibre-reinforced composite materials and machine-made mineral fibres (MMMF). These types of construction materials may be obscured and difficult to identify, resulting in personnel inadvertently causing damage to them. The fibres they contain may decompose if damaged by a fire, collision or cutting away, and become fragile. This can result in hazards including:
- Respiratory damage due to inhalation of fibres
- Needle stick injuries
- Damage to skin or eyes
- Fibres being carried a considerable distance downwind
- Transfer of fibres via personal protective equipment (PPE) or equipment
Fibres from composite materials can become contaminated with products of the incident, such as:
- Fuel and oils
- Biological hazards
- Products of combustion
Tyres and wheels
Inflated tyres contain a large amount of stored energy, which varies according to the inflation pressure and the surface area of the tyre. Tyres can burst as a result of:
- Under inflation
- Over inflation
- Foreign object damage
- Heat transfer from brake assemblies
Disintegration of wheel hubs or rims can result in debris being spread with an explosive force under and around the mode of transport.
For further safety information about tyre inflation see the Health and Safety Executive website: Tyre removal, replacement and inflation.
Large modes of transport
Large modes of transport include:
- Road vehicles, such as:
- Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)
- Large goods vehicles (LGVs)
- Public service vehicles (PSVs)
- Rail vehicles
- Large aircraft
- Large vessels
Due to their size, many of the hazards when dealing with modes of transport will be amplified. For example:
- Additional weight of components
- Higher voltages
- Larger tyres and wheels
- More prevalent use of reinforced or high-strength materials
Additionally, accessing large modes of transport could involve working at height.
Most modern modes of passenger transport have sewage tanks. These tanks may not always be in an obvious location and can hold large volumes of sewage; this could be released if a tank fails.
- Control measureIdentify and isolate fuel systems
- Control measureIdentify and communicate vehicle or craft construction materials