Businesses are being warned against using aerosols in enclosed areas after a worker suffered serious burns to his hands and face in an incident in Adelaide’s northern suburbs last month.

The experienced industry tradesperson was applying a protective aerosol spray to a heavy vehicle battery to prevent corrosion of the terminals on 24 February as part of regular pre-delivery maintenance tasks.

As the worker reached over to access the battery area and lift the terminal cover, he bumped his hand and dropped the aerosol can.

The can landed on the battery-positive terminal and touched the intercooler manifold pipe, piercing the can and releasing its contents, which ignited from electrical sparks.

The worker was wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect his eyes, body, and chest but sustained severe burns to his face, hands and arms.

SafeWork SA enquiries identified that using aerosol cans in restricted spaces near electrical components may have contributed to the incident.

The business has reviewed its processes and identified an alternative terminal protector product to be applied with a brush in restricted spaces with minimal metal parts to reduce the chance of electro conductivity across two points.

The product is a multi-purpose anti-corrosion grease with a higher flash point tolerance.

SafeWork SA Acting Executive Director Glenn Farrell said the circumstances surrounding this incident involved a highly flammable aerosol and an electrical source should be brought to the attention of the industry, given the task being performed was in essence such a simple one.

He said substitutions should be considered as safer alternatives if they are available.

‘If aerosols must be used, businesses should choose spacious areas with good ventilation to reduce the risk of combustion,’ Mr Farrell said.

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