Liquid containers were responsible for creating a workplace hazard, authorities found.
Investigators recently blamed a fire on improperly stored water at an undisclosed mining operation in South Australia.
Mine workers left a pallet of clear plastic bottles outdoors that magnified the sun’s rays and ignited cardboard packing material on 7 January 2023.
“Subsequent investigations at the mine identified the probable ignition source as sunlight that had refracted through the clear bottles. The heat created caused the plastic water bottles to melt and partially burnt the cardboard and wooden pallet,” SafeWork SA said in a safety alert.
“Workers on site promptly spotted the fire and extinguished it before it spread or caused injury.”
Investigators urged employers not to store transparent bottles containing clear liquids anywhere near direct sunlight.
“Since July 2020, 29 incidents of this nature have been reported to WorkSafe,” they said.
“The majority of these reported incidents involved transparent plastic bottles filled with water being stored in direct sunlight.”
The following recommendations were made:
- store clear drink bottles in vehicles away from direct sunlight
- cover transparent bottles containing clear liquids if they are exposed to direct sunlight
- utilise an undercover or shaded area for unloading transparent bottles containing clear liquid
- store transparent bottles containing clear liquid in an undercover, enclosed or shaded area where sunlight cannot shine through the bottles.