PASMA has issued new guidance clarifying that aluminium mobile towers should not be in used in any area where explosive atmospheres exist or may exist. However, GRP (fibre glass) mobile towers may be a suitable alternative.
Can mobile towers be used in explosive atmospheres?
Aluminium mobile towers should not be used in any area where explosive atmospheres exist or may exist. In explosive atmospheres, the use of GRP (fibre glass) mobile towers may be a suitable alternative to towers made from aluminium.
Explosive atmospheres are defined and regulated by the ATEX Directives in Europe, the DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) in the UK, and similar legislation in other regions.
When an impact occurs between an aluminium tower component and oxidised (rusty) iron or steel, it can generate sufficient energy to initiate a thermite reaction resulting in sparking. Those sparks can ignite any flammable gas, vapour, or dust.
Examples of oxidised iron or steel include rusty decks, bulkheads, gratings, columns, pipes and similar items of plant and equipment.