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How to safely buy a used ATEX forklift for logistics operations

Pre-owned explosion proof lift trucks can be useful additions to potentially explosive logistics operations, but how do you know they are safe and are they dangerous? We asked Darren Boiling, Materials Handling Sales Manager from safety company Pyroban, for some guidance around this important topic.

Why are used lift trucks such a safety concern for logistics operations with hazardous areas?

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Wrongly specified ATEX safety equipment or poorly maintained safety systems could cause an explosion in a potentially explosive atmosphere. Therefore, logistics businesses that are looking to buy a used ATEX lift truck (or to rent one on a short-term basis) need to take certain actions in order to keep their .. operations safe – explosion protection solutions are never just ‘fit and forget’.

What is the first consideration for those buying used trucks?

When selecting a lift truck for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, the first step is to establish the specific operation risk. That is the case whether the equipment is used, or you’re specifying new trucks.

For instance, is the area where the trucks will be used Zone 1, 2, 21 or 22 under ATEX 1999/92/EC or DSEAR in the UK? For gas and vapour hazards, what is the Gas Group and Auto-ignition temperature of the substances handled? For dust and powders, what is the Cloud Ignition Temperature, and the Dust Layer Ignition Temperature?

How does the application determine the right choice of used truck?

There are many factors within the specific application which will affect the type of explosion protection solution required to keep people safe, so these must be assessed before buying equipment. For example, what will the truck be doing? What heights or distances are at play? In what ambient temperature will it operate?

Also, does your logistics operation require a lift truck for multi-shift continuous work or intermittent use? This is important because as part of the protection method, surface temperatures may be limited which can have an effect on the equipment’s work cycle, especially if it is working in a high ambient temperature. For example, used Pyroban equipment traded to the Middle East may struggle with the desert heat if it isn’t built for that environment.

Only when you understand where the equipment will work and what it is required to do can you check that the safety specification of a used truck matches.

Is there a risk that used trucks could bring hazards from a ‘dirty’ previous working environment into a logistics operation or warehouse?

Many ATEX lift trucks available to buy used will have worked within chemical industries, or other environments where corrosive or Darren Boiling, Materials Handling Sales Manager, Pyroban toxic substances are handled. It is a good idea to try and find out what the truck used to do and to make sure has been de-contaminated prior to bringing it onto your site.

What about service and inspection history? Are there any ‘red flags’ you should look for?

The service history is 30really important. Was the truck regularly maintained by a trained Pyroban engineer who used the correct parts and service regime? One incorrect part may expose a site to the risk of ignition through a spark or hot surface, for example.

Was the truck’s safety system audited on an annual basis by a safety inspector? This would ensure that the integrity of the safety system was checked, and any faults rectified. For example, has impact damage, wear and tear, or corrosion been left untreated for years? But don’t confuse this with a lift truck engineer conducting a thorough examination, which is not the same thing and does not ensure the safety of the explosion protection systems.

Are there any specific truck inspectionsor audits for explosion protected lifttrucks that should be done?

Insist that a safety audit such as Pyroban’sEx-ASA is conducted, and any problems arerectified, before the sale completes. Pyrobanauditors have the knowledge and experience

to issue a certificate in support of ongoingATEX compliance. Used ATEX lift trucks donot always look their best but that doesn’tmean they are unsafe for a hazardous area.

Similarly, a truck might seem to be ‘working fine’, but that may not be the case. A Pyroban Ex-ASA is a thorough audit whereall safety critical components of Pyroban’sexplosion protection system are inspected and recorded, including Exd enclosures,cables and glands, shutdown devices,conductivity, and fork cladding. Even experienced lift truck engineers may not fully understand the complexities of a Pyroban forklift conversion, so it has to be conducted by a specially trained engineer. If a used truck is given the ‘all clear’ by Pyroban, and the specification matches the requirements of the site, then it can be an economical way to ensure the safety of workers and reduce risk to the user’s brand and supply chain. A Pyroban Ex-ASA also supports your compliance with the ATEX 1999/92/EC directive and EN60079-17 standard.

Are there safety considerations if you choose to roll on your existing fleet contract instead of buying used trucks?

If you choose to roll on your existing ATEX forklift contract rather than invest in used lift trucks that are newer or a different brand, you must still check when a safety audit was last conducted and should conduct an ASA if it’s due. Failure to do so could have big implications for both safety and compliance. A Pyroban Ex-ASA is recommended yearly (sometimes sooner depending on the application) to ensure your equipment is fully protected and working correctly.

Likewise, if you choose to bring any short-term hire equipment onto your sites, you must check when a safety audit was last conducted. You shouldn’t hire equipment unless you are certain it is safe and there is evidence that it has been audited and serviced accordingly by a trained engineer. ... For more information visit www.pyroban.com ✷