The increased need for oxygen in hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 patients also leads to a higher risk of chemical accidents and fires. Beswic, the Belgian Knowledge Centre on Well-being at Work, presents various publications dealing with this issue.
At the beginning of the health crisis, hospitals were urgently equipped with a large number of artificial respirators. As a result, the stock of oxygen cylinders increased. “The use of respirators or the simple storage of oxygen cylinders presents a fire risk. An atmosphere containing more than 25% oxygen has a 10% increase in the probability of a spontaneous fire”, according to BE ATEX. The danger arises especially when a leak occurs unexpectedly and oxygen is released into the atmosphere (this situation occurs when the gas container is replaced, it is rare in routine use).
Marking of the lines is important. Given the number of patients on ventilators during this coronavirus outbreak, existing beds need to be adapted quickly and fitted with an oxygen delivery system. However, speed should not mean lack of safety. Mistakes or negligence in marking the lines/connections could lead to very dangerous situations.
(Sources Prevent, Beswic)