Misleading information on fire and explosion hazards
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health's website states the following: 'While the location of dispensers in many countries is strictly regulated, there are no national regulations in Norway other than the regulations covering the handling of flammable, reactive and pressurised substances as well as equipment for this purpose. In addition to storing
large quantities, which in accordance with Section 14 of the regulations should be included in the institution's safety assessment, the institution only has a duty of care (Section 5) in relation to the use of flammable liquid. However, the location of dispensers must be clarified with the HSE officer at the individual institution, and a safety assessment should be carried out of dispenser locations in the individual areas.' (Italics added by the author.) (8).
Waste bins placed directly under alcohol-based disinfectant. Photo: Arnstein Fedøy
The claim that risk in general, and the risk of fire and explosion in particular, is not regulated beyond the Regulations on the Handling of Hazardous Substances is incorrect and misleading. Pursuant to Section 5 of the Internal Control Regulations, 'Internal control shall be adapted to the nature, activities, risks and size of the enterprise to the extent required to comply with requirements set out in or pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation.' This includes 'identify dangers and problems and against this background assess risks; draw up appurtenant plans and measures to reduce such risks' and 'implement routines to uncover, rectify and prevent breaches of requirements established in or pursuant to the health, environmental and safety legislation'
Hand sanitiser is often placed just inside the main entrance
Alcohol-based liquid can be ignited by static electric discharge, and a person's whole body can be on fire without the flame being noticed at first, since alcohol burns with invisible flames and does not produce smoke. The claim by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health that the deployment of dispensers is neither risky nor a fire hazard is therefore baseless.
The further claim that only large volumes of liquid require a risk assessment is also incorrect and misleading. Although up to 10 litres of flammable liquid can legally be stored in a home under Section 6 of the Regulations on the Handling of Hazardous Substances
(6), this is not permitted in buildings that require more extensive safety precautions. Here, a risk analysis must first be performed and the necessary technical and organisational measures implemented.