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You're asking for health and safety trouble if you store your generator on the roof!

by , 06 May 2013
You can't afford to let a power cut affect productivity at your business. That's why most business owners have taken the plunge and bought at least one generator as winter approaches with the promise of more power cuts as electricity demand goes through the roof. But by doing so, you're putting your employees' health and safety at risk. Here's what you'll need to do to prevent a disaster like the Bangladesh garment factory collapse due to storing four heavy generators on the roof...

 
If you don't comply with the legal requirements for generators, you'll be guilty of an offence, and if you're convicted in court you'll pay a hefty fine or go to jail, says Health and Safety Advisor.
 
But it's not just a gas or petrol leak in the pipes of the generator that you'll need to worry about.
 
Because a top investigator probing a Bangladesh garment factory disaster in which more than 500 people died has found that generators were the cause of the building collapse.
 
But the generators didn't explode or leaks – they were placed on the roof of the building, violating rules and causing the building to collapse, says News24. 
 
So make sure you've stored your generator safely.
 
Here's how to store your generator safely, whether it's installed or portable…
 
If you have an 'installed' generator, this means you'll need to store the generator in a place that's dry and can be locked; certainly not on the roof. 
 
'Installed' means it's bolted down and can't be moved from that position manually, so these are generally diesel or petrol generators.
 
To further enhance safety, make sure installed generators are enclosed in a cage so that you can lock and limit access to them.
 
And by keeping the generator properly grounded, you'll be able to prevent anyone from being electrocuted.
 
And if you're running a smaller portable gas-operated generator, remember to ensure the gas cylinder is installed with a flash arrester to stop the flame from burning back up into the generator, adds Health and Safety Advisor.
 
Then, you'll need to be careful that your electrical generator isn't kept in an enclosed room that has no ventilation, as the gas fumes can build up. 
 
That's why it's preferable to place your generator outside under a canopy, away from windows and doors, says FSP Business.
 
Noise: One more way your generator could harm your employees' health…
 
Lastly, check that you're generator doesn't violate the occupational noise regulations.
 
If you need to raise your voice to a near shout to speak over the noise of the generator, it's probably louder than the recommended 85 decibels, explains the Health and Safety Advisor.
 
If so, you'll need to make sure you've provided your employees with ear plugs as part of their PPE, and that you've clearly demarcated 'high noise' areas, so they know when to insert their ear plugs.

Apart from regularly maintaining and servicing your company's generator, there're nine safety precautions you must adhere to.

Turn to your Health and Safety Advisor to read all about them.
 

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