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TOPIC: Take a second look at your workshop/work area

Take a second look at your workshop/work area 1 month 3 weeks ago #15822

  • Kawboy
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I guess the recent topic "Restore Disaster" has caused me some thought regarding shop safety. According to the post, a friend lost a workshop to a fire caused by a backfire when starting a bike just after doing some work on it.

I have a large garage attached to my house. It's 3-1/2 car bay wide and the outer bay is 50 feet deep. Square footage is 1360 sq. ft. It's my garage for the family vehicle, the 3/4 ton truck, my other baby,my Porsche 928 and the KZ1300. It's also the workshop for the vehicles and the bike. I do all of the vehicle maintenance since I'm also a licenced auto technician. In my career in the nuclear power plant I was a ticketed pipefitter/welder and a machinist/fitter. So in my workshop at home I have a stick/tig welding machine and a very small 6"x21" metal lathe. I should also mention that during my career I was a welding shop supervisor so safety in the shop was a critical portion of my job as a supervisor. Probably the most watched activity in a nuclear power plant is fire safety since a loss of electrical control in a nuclear power plant can result in a major environmental disaster.

At the poweer plant we had flammable storage cabinets for storage of flammables. Flammable storage cabinets can be in a welding shop provided that they be at least 50 feet away from any hot work in the shop. Hot work is defined as any work where heat is generated over 150 deg F. or where sparks are generated that could ignite any flammable material. Knowing that principal you could keep your flammables 50 feet away from any area that you might do hot work in but we all have multipurpose work shops at home. Before we do any hot work we need to consider "In the event of a fire, what am I about to lose and at what cost?"

As a control measure, I thought I should store my flammables in a cabinet to maintain a barrier between my welding activities and my stored flammables. I didn't want to spend $1500.00 on a flammable storage cabinet, so I opted for a standard metal cabinet. What's the difference? A flammable cabinet has locking door handles and a vent port on the side which can be piped out of the work area. In the event of a fire or explosion in the cabinet, the storage cabinet is designed to contain and control the incident. Ther standard metal cabinet will not control a fire/explosion. The flammable cabinet also has self closing doors where the metal cabinet do not.

Since I do all kinds of maintenance activities on the vehicles I'll guess I have 50-60 aerosol cans of flammables cleaners, waxes, paint, grease etc. I also have gallon containers of varsol, laquer thinner, methyl hydrate plus at least 5 jerry cans of gasoline. The 3/4 ton truck has an auxilliary fuel tank fill with 90 gallons of diesel fuel. The Porsche typically resides up on my 2 post car hoist 7 feet in the air.

So lets say in want to weld something in the shop. What must I do to minimize the hazard?

First, Move all of the vehicles out of the garage. If there was a fire, I can't be moving out 4 vehicles to save them and I don't need 4 vehicles surrounding mee as I try to put out a fire. If I lose the garage, I also lose the house and that means the wife will "lose me".

The welding machine is stored right beside the flammable storage cabinet, so I need to move the welding machine everytime I want to weld something. I should have considered relocating the flammable cabinet and I may do that yet.

Since my cabinet is not a flammable cabinet, I now have to check the cabinet and see if I have any leaking containers which may have built up
fumes which could explode if ignited.

I also need to open the garage doors to provide adequate ventilation and also a good idea to unlock all the doors so I have an escape route in the advent of a fire or explosion.

Last but not least, check all 3 of my fire extinguishers and ensure they are ready to go and remind myself what I have to do to use the extinguisher if necessary. I have 3 and they all have a diferent securing pin arrangement.

Oh, and the cellphone, in my pocket so I have an emergency line in the advent of a fire or explosion.

I'm sure this info is not new to most of you but generating a topic on the subject just might stimulate a thought in the back of your brain the next time you do anything that might start a fire. Hope this is useful info.

KB
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Kayboy John's building 1980 KZ1300 A2 in Candy Glory Red, complete with a duck tail tailpiece and a DG pipe. Stay tuned!!!

Take a second look at your workshop/work area 1 month 3 weeks ago #15828

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quote - "I have a large garage attached to my house. It's 3-1/2 car bay wide and the outer bay is 50 feet deep. Square footage is 1360 sq. ft. It's my garage for the family vehicle, the 3/4 ton truck, my other baby,my Porsche 928 and the KZ1300. It's also the workshop for the vehicles and the bike. I do all of the vehicle maintenance since I'm also a licenced auto technician. In my career in the nuclear power plant I was a ticketed pipefitter/welder and a machinist/fitter. So in my workshop at home I have a stick/tig welding machine and a very small 6"x21" metal lathe"

I need to rethink my workshop for sure.

I too have well organized shop
1. fridge
1. freezer
1. table saw on folding stand
1. radial saw on folding stand
1. work bench
1. manual bike lift - with my Busa on it now
1. cluttered work bench
1. small table drill press
1. portable air compressor
6. tool boxes 3 for my tools and 3 for her tools for me to work around house with
1. 60,000 furnace (for the cold Canadian winters)
1. Wifes Spyder ( can't let that get any snow on its cover)

hopefully I can post an image here now lets see...
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Last Edit: by stocktoy. Reason: forgot the Spyder

Take a second look at your workshop/work area 1 month 3 weeks ago #15833

  • Kawboy
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Tight quarters there Stocktoy. Don't know how you get any work done. Maybe the wife's beer fridge needs to go upstairs :side:

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Kayboy John's building 1980 KZ1300 A2 in Candy Glory Red, complete with a duck tail tailpiece and a DG pipe. Stay tuned!!!

Take a second look at your workshop/work area 1 month 3 weeks ago #15834

  • stocktoy
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Yeah it can be tight especially when I have to work on the cars then I need to put a chair on either side of the left front fender and bumper to get to the engine compartment lol
At least in the summer she lets me park the Spyder in the driveway if I'm in the garage.

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Take a second look at your workshop/work area 1 month 3 weeks ago #15836

  • KZQ
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With your eye for safety John I'm sure you could point out some improvements for my shop. It's 1500 square feet with pallet racking filling the center area. I've got four fire extinguishers scattered about but not always properly stored.



I'll mount it on the wall TODAY.

I've also got 20 Gallons of propane which helps keep the areas far from the wood stove tolerable this time of year.




My Office/Battery charging and maintenance area.




Bike Storage.




Carpentery section.




One of the Bike Maintenance areas.




Front entrance. Virtually all of the paint is water based.




Welding area. I did install and exhaust fan in the clere story window.




Probably could do a better job of keeping the hoses and cords off of the floor.

Regards
Bill

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1947 Indian Chief, 1968 BSA Shooting Star, 1970 BSA 650 Lightning, 1974 Kawasaki W3, 1976 KZ900 A4, 1979 KZ750 B4, 1980 KZ550, 1981 KZ1300, 1982 KZ1100 Spectre, 1985 Kawasaki ZN1300, 1987 Yamaha Trail Way, 2000 Honda Valkyrie Tourer, 2009 Yamaha RoadLiner S
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Take a second look at your workshop/work area 1 month 3 weeks ago #15837

  • Ledkz1300
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Thanks for bringing this subject to the forefront of my mind. I will be making some changes to how I store things. I know my insurance is on point but I don't want to lose anything, least of all my life. My garage/shop is not attached but it is only 10 feet from my house and could surely involve my house if it ever went up. Horrible thought. Losing my pets would be the hardest blow if I wasn't home to save them.

I don't do "hot" work myself but I do have stored fuel or flammables and sparks can ignite anything. I am moving all my fuel and flammables to a different room in my shop. Sparks or flame from backfires or grinding can start a fire as easily as a welding torch. Best to get it all out of the way.

You guys would love my shop. 32x44 with two bays, a hoist, parts room and a full finished basement. Its rough but very serviceable. The previous owner ran a licensed garage out of it for decades.





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