Fires caused by lithium batteries are on the rise.

In recent years, there has been a concerning increase in fires caused by lithium batteries. These incidents not only pose a danger to lives and businesses but also highlight the need for greater awareness and precautions when it comes to these common power sources. 

Causes of Lithium Battery Fires

  • Overcharging and Overheating: Overcharging a lithium battery can lead to thermal runaway, causing the battery to heat up uncontrollably and potentially ignite.
  • Physical Damage: Even minor damage to a lithium battery, like punctures or crushing, can compromise the battery’s integrity and increase the risk of a fire.
  • Manufacturing Defects: Faulty manufacturing can result in defective lithium batteries that are more prone to overheating and fires.
  • Poor Quality Chargers and Cables: Using subpar charging equipment can lead to overcharging and overheating of lithium batteries.

Minimising Risks

  • Use Genuine Chargers and Cables: Always use chargers and cables provided by the device manufacturer or reputable third-party accessories to ensure compatibility and safety.
  • Avoid Overcharging: Unplug devices once they are fully charged to prevent overcharging. Many modern devices have built-in mechanisms to prevent overcharging, but it’s still a good practice to unplug them when not in use.
  • Handle with Care: Protect lithium batteries from physical damage. Avoid dropping, puncturing, or subjecting them to excessive pressure.
  • Store Safely: Store spare lithium batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and flammable materials. Avoid storing them at extreme temperatures.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on product recalls and safety advisories related to lithium batteries. Manufacturers may issue recalls for potentially hazardous batteries.
  • Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with the signs of a potentially problematic lithium battery, such as excessive heat, swelling, or unusual odors. If you notice any of these signs, stop using the device and seek professional help.

The rise in fires caused by lithium batteries is a growing concern in our increasingly digital and mobile world. However, by taking simple precautions and staying informed about the potential risks, businesses can significantly reduce the likelihood of a lithium battery-related fire. It is essential for business owners and employees to prioritise safety and work together to minimise these risks in our workplaces.

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Are you managing your asbestos risk in accordance with current legislation?

For a long time, there has been much attention placed on the very dangerous and ill affects Asbestos exposure can have on an individual. What we know is that Asbestos was very heavily used in building construction between the 1940’s to 1990’s primarily due to its high levels of heat resistance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until much later when we identified that those Asbestos fibres can become trapped within the human respiratory system, leading to an increased risk of cancer, especially Mesothelioma which is defined as: cancer within the lining of the lung.

As a result of the increased awareness and research around the effects of Asbestos on the individual; legislation now exists to maximise safety of workers within a workplace. The Work Health & Safety Act (2011) and the Work Health & Safety Regulation (2017) talks extensively to the need for a “person with management or control of a workplace” to develop, maintain and update an Asbestos Register. This is also a legal requirement, should that building have been constructed prior to 01 January 2004. There are significant financial and reputational risks associated should this legal requirement not be met, including prohibition and prosecution notices from the state or territory SafeWork Regulator. The only way to be certain as to whether any material contains Asbestos (and specifically what type) is to have the material tested in a laboratory. These tests should be completed by an accredited facility (known as a National Association of Testing Authority (NATA) facility).

Saunders Safety & Training can assist with the development or review of any Asbestos Register and its subsequent Management Plan through our partnership with licensed professionals who understand these risks and how to manage them. We have completed a number of projects aimed at helping property owners and officers of a business understand their risk, and developing out a management plan, or in some instances removal and remediation of a site, to reduce operational stress. Testing and management of Asbestos can be a fairly inexpensive and efficient process to manage when property owners and officers of a company are proactive in this risk mitigation space. There are also subsequent benefits to regular testing, including: better success and rates for Property Insurance lines.

Contact us today if you need more information or would like to discuss your specific situation in greater detail. Alternatively, visit our Saunders Safety and Training website for further information by clicking the link below.

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How to prepare your business for an El Nino Summer

All the data points to a hotter than-average summer, which means Aussie businesses should prepare for extreme weather during the warmer months.

Here are some steps you can take to help prepare your small business, in case droughts and floods affect your area.

The Australian Actuaries Climate Index (AACI) indicate conditions are ripe for a destructive bushfire season across Australia this summer, following a dry winter and a rise in extreme temperatures.

According to the index, the frequency of extreme high temperatures was above average in northern and eastern parts of the country in autumn, but lower than average in the south and west.

Rade Musulin, lead collator of the Australian Actuaries Climate Index, says with Australia’s transition to an El Niño alert phase in late May, there is a strong likelihood rainfall will continue to decline and a significant dry period may begin.

“More dry weather, along with the record amounts of vegetation growth from three years of consistent wet weather, means the conditions are primed for potentially high bushfire risk in the summers ahead,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology currently estimates there’s a 70 per cent chance of an El Niño system developing. This weather pattern is synonymous with low rainfall and bushfires.

Prepare your business for bushfire season

While El Niño events, bushfires and drought are tough conditions for small businesses to manage, there are steps you can take to mitigate these risks.

1. Develop a comprehensive emergency plan

Create a detailed emergency plan tailored to the threat of bushfires and floods. This plan should outline evacuation procedures, communication protocols, designated assembly points and responsibilities for each employee during an emergency.

2. Make sure your insurance cover is up to date

Review your current insurance policies to ensure they provide adequate coverage for potential damages caused by El Niño-induced events. Speak with an insurance broker, who can discuss your options and the best cover for your specific business needs. 

3. Create off-site data backup and storage

Protect crucial business data and documents by regularly backing them up and storing them off-site or on secure cloud-based platforms. This will minimise the risk of data loss during extreme weather events.

4. Train staff to respond to emergency situations

Hold regular training sessions to educate employees about the emergency plan and the steps they should take during bushfires or floods.

5. Maintain landscaping and clear surroundings

Regularly maintain any garden around your business premises, trim trees and remove dry foliage. Similarly, ensure proper drainage to prevent flooding.

6. Check your communication channels

Make sure you have access to multiple communication channels to stay up to date on weather and evacuation orders. Use social media, emergency alert systems and reliable news sources so you know what’s happening, as it happens.

7. Develop a business continuity plan

Create a business continuity plan that outlines the steps to follow to resume operations after a disaster. This plan should address immediate recovery needs, temporary business relocation and any potential supply chain disruptions.

8. Do regular drills

Organise periodic drills to test the effectiveness of your emergency plan. Identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments based on the outcomes of these exercises.

Preparing for a dry summer 

El Niño-induced bushfires and floods can pose significant challenges to small businesses.

But with careful preparation and planning, businesses can increase their chances of minimising losses and bouncing back after a disaster. The key lies in being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to disaster preparedness. 

If you have any questions with regards to your cover and ensuring you are adequately protected this Summer, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us on (02) 9587 3500 or emailing Alternatively you can visit our contact page by clicking below.

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