General Safety Info

General Safety Guidelines for Operation of Stationary Fuel Engines

Please bear with me as this is Under Construction..

Our hobby is largely unregulated, and happily so. A really good set of guidelines can be found at:

Please keep in mind that these safety considerations are meant for the Australian engineer, but gives us some good common sense groundwork for our own participation.  There have been a number of near misses documented on Harry’s SmokStak website as well as in the news.  We must all be vigilant and not only ensure the safety of our displays but of those around us.   The reasons, if they don’t seem self evident, are that when ever an accident happens, there are those who seek to ban our hobby and insurance companies who consider us an increased risk.  One of the first and most important rules (as well as one which is my greatest source of frustration)…

Never leave running engines unattended!  EVER!

I have begun to compile below a list of topics which are all important to the overall safety considerations of our hobby, both in show state and in the shop.

Moving Parts

If these engines were created today they would be immediately banned by governmental authorities.  Open flywheels, crank rods, pulleys and belts, all provide danger points that can cause real tragedy if encountered incorrectly.  With all these engines, watch for fingers and pinch points.  The flywheel if gripped wrong can grab and suck you hand into covers, gears, governors, and other moving parts.  They seem low in horse power but their torque is off the scale.  In this regard watch loose fitting clothing, gloves, and long hair.  These are all items that can get sucked into a rotating shaft and wound down tightly.

Fuel Safety

As with any engine or device which uses volatile fuels, Fuel handling and safety is very important for safety.  Always use an approved container for storing fuels.  Never smoke while refueling or fuel vapors may be present.  Always fill the containers in a way that sparks from static electricity can not occur.  This means taking your plastic jugs off the back of your truck and grounding them by placing them on the ground.  Never use a cell phone or other distraction while refueling.  Always ship your engines drained of fuel and maintain fuels lines to ensure no leaks are present.  Always carry a fire extinguisher with an ABC rating.

Respiratory Safety
– paint
– cleaning
– oils, sprays, fuels

Show Site Safety
– displays
– railings

Ear Protection:

Inspection of parts:

Inspection of your equipment is paramount before operation. The techniques used to assess machine hazards are similar to those used for workplace hazards. The first line of defense is the visual inspection of the machine before it is started and every time it is operated.  Simple checklists can be drawn up and inspections done after transporting.  Examination as to the workings of the fuel system (leaks and drips.  Is the check ball free), ignition and electrical systems, flywheels (cracks, chips, or hairline fractures), valve stems (are they free and functioning), Governor (are all the linkages working); and any other loose or free pieces that could be thrown, get stuck, or otherwise pose a hazard.

How many of us when using a trailer to haul our displays, protect the engines from flying rocks and debris which are shot backwards from the miles of roadway we travel?

The second line of defense is the area and conditions surrounding your setup.  Are all the barricades in place, can the public reach in to touch moving parts, are fire extinguisher present.  Have you taken a look around to identify any and all hazards that could cause injury.

Grenading of flywheels

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