COVID-19 Essentials Manufacturing – Flammable Risks

By: Bryte Insurance

Businesses around the world continue to heed the call to flatten the COVID-19 curve. The solidarity shown across the globe to protect the health and safety of employees, communities and global citizens, remains encouraging. To keep the lights on and help the fight against COVID-19, many businesses have become more innovative – some either increasing or commencing production of essential items such as hand sanitisers, hygiene wipes, personal protective equipment and other items required for medical purposes. However, a recent hand sanitiser plant explosion in India – on its first day of manufacturing during the lockdown – which resulted in the loss of lives, is a stark reminder of risk, demonstrating just how badly things can go wrong.

Within the current context, here are six key considerations to manage business risk:

  1. Seek expert opinion on other risks that may be faced, working with increased volumes or the use of flammable raw materials and how to mitigate against these e.g. employee health and safety considerations when working with certain chemical compounds
  2. Reassess the suitability of the building based on the raw materials stored and products manufactured
  3. Facilitate safe storage of raw materials and manufactured products to ensure safety of employees, premises and adherence to the necessary compliance requirements. For example, standard foam firefighting agents will not suffice. An alcohol resistant foam is critical to help fighting such fires, as opposed to just water sprinklers
  4. Ensure employees have training on potential risks and the safe handling of materials
  5. Ensure stocks of alcohol resistant foam are sufficient for at least 90 minutes of firefighting
  6. Customers must consult their brokers to discuss changes to their risk profiles and ensure  insurance policies are updated, providing sufficient cover should an incident occur