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WD40 spray

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roblan28
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WD40 spray

Post by roblan28 »

WD40 is used to lubricate the movements on our office furniture.
Obviously there is a risk as it sprayed on, but once the WD 40 drys is it still flammable ?
I have looked at the MSDS and its not really clear about its flammability once dry.
The question has now been blown out of all proportion as the "individual" is now saying that by using the
spray we are voiding the BS rating on the foams !!

The manufacturers were less than helpfull.

Can anyone help / direct me to an authoritative source ?

It turned out as a general enquiry but its now really begining to annoy me that I cannot find an answer.
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kevlarion
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by kevlarion »

From your reference to foam I guess you are lubricating the levers on chairs.
I've never heard of these needing lubricated before but I would guess that the manufacturers perhaps brush on some lithium grease to these parts, and certainly applying a bit more grease or turning the chair upside down and putting a few drops of light oil on the moving parts would be preferrable to spraying a highly flammable vapour in an office environment.
Regarding the foam, it is quite possible that "the individual" is correct and that by spraying petroleum distillates around the foam you are in fact derating the foam... wd40 is quite good at disolving some types of plastic and it does leave a flammable residue.
I'm not the authoratative source you were looking for, but have a look at the data sheet again and consider that in order to cling to and lubricate the moving parts there must be a lubricant left on the surfaces. Everything in WD40 is flammable, it is made of petroleum distillates so the residual lubricant is flammable.
The question to consider is not "is there someone that will tell me that what I'm doing is safe?" you should rather ask yourself "Should I be doing this when I don't know if it's safe or not?"
Perhaps the manufacturer of your furniture could offer you some guidance on whether the furniture should need lubricated, and if it does what product would they recommend for doing it.
You might also consider if spraying an aerosol of this nature in an office envirnment is suitable from the perspective of people working there who may be asthmatic.
If it isn't broken, that doesn't mean you can't improve it. (Do three negatives make a positive ?)
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by 1804 »

Hi roblan

how about

http://www.fira.co.uk/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

who do all sorts of flammability testing on furniture? They had developed some British Standards over the years and are fairly amenable when it comes to giving advice. Their number is on their website, they may be able to help.

cheers

Martin
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by Ian Rienewerf »

You can spray some into an aluminium or steel tray, and set fire to it with a match.
Then you'll find out if it's flammable once dry - or not.

Since I've recently sprayed my whole motorbike with it - including the exhaust and engine - my guess is that the residue isn't flammable at all.
Distilates with a flash point above 32oC point aren't classed as flammable.

Saying that - Kevs comments above are valid regards to stripping off the protective flame retardant coating.

What I want to know is - why are they spraying it onto the foam in the first place?
It should only be used on the metalwork and moving parts - not the upholstery.
So again - some excellent advice above.
Consider using a light machine oil instead of an aerosol.
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by roblan28 »

Thanks for the replies so far.

It was one of those issues where I wanted some guidance and thoughts from others as I wasn't really getting anywhere by myself.
Full background
Carrying DSE review on the Admin area last Tues; whilst doiong this was asked by the finance director if I thought WD40 should be used to lubricate the squeaky furniture in the office. Furniture is about 2 years old and after about 15months after purchase there were a number of problems with "squeaks" which caused some staff to complain. Engineering then added these items to the Admin office planned maintenance schedule. We ( production ) work 24/7 ; so any work in the Admin sections are done at weekends. It was spotted one weekend by the Finance director that an engineer was lubricating the castors / pistons with WD40. This week it has now developed from a what I would say was a justified H&S enquiry into a war of words between the engineering director and finance director, my thoughts about this type of wasteful behaviour would be unprintable !
I took the following action last week ;
1) replaced use of WD40 ( engineering toolbox essential ) in admin areas with light liquid oil
2) reviewed use of WD40 spray in all manufacturing areas ; in some cases repacing it with another type of lubricant

But this morning got asked about the foams and was completely at a loss ; hence the questions especially about authoritative sources.

I'll check out the links that martin has given.

Again thanks for all the help.

I cannot wait till I revert back to nightshift next week, lack of sleep vs office politics ; no contest.
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by bernicarey »

My reaction to this topic... What's the gripe with these people, do they want squeaky chairs or not?

That said, how are the maintenance staff doing the task?
SSOW and all that.
WD40 comes with a nice little straw for application of small amounts to a spot area.
No reason whatsoever for it to be getting anywhere near the internal foam or even the exterior fabric/leather/leatherette top covering. If applied in an appropriate manner by trained personnel, or anyone with some self control when applying aerosols, then there is no issue at all.
Any residue after evaporation of the solvent used to make it 'propellant deliverable' (I was going to say propellable but I'm not sure it's a real word ;) ) will be the actual lubricant, no different from using a dropper application of light oil.

If you want a 'different' data sheet, I find that if a website has a Canadian version it sometimes give additional data.
eg, the UK MSDS states just 2 ingredients, Carbon Dioxide and Petroleum Distillates.
The Canadian one lists
Stoddard Solvent 8052-41-3 45-50%
Petroleum Base Oil 64742-65-0 30-35%
Non-Hazardous Ingredients Proprietary <10%


But I would say go back to your COSHH RA etc and detail a SSOW for application of WD40 - Specify things like
Minimum application for task
Application Straw to be used to reduce excess spray
Only to be used for non-spot application if used for anti-corrosion purposes
etc
End of problem. ;)

Berni
Carbon Dioxide 124-38-9 2-3%

http://www.wd40.co.uk/media/adobe/2/0/W ... l_MSDS.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.wd40company.com/files/pdf/ms ... 382569.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by roblan28 »

Thanks berni,

Re squeaks : as you have no doubt found out some people will raise the most trival items as an H&S issue whilst ignoring other more serious issues.
Re : CoSHH and SSoWs - good idea I'll include this in the engineering managers RA schedules for the next quarter. I'll also do the same with the Admin manager's assessments.


Rob
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by Messy »

Mmmmm... me thinks this sounds more like an industrial relations problem than a fire safety issue.

What is the risk here? A few chairs in an admin area that may (or may not) have had WD40 sprayed on them in the last few hours or weeks. What are the likely ignition sources? Perhaps he added risk of fire is so low to be negligible, even if the FR rating of the foam has been affected by it's application. Obviously it's all down to the environment & circumstances where these chairs are located, but an admin area does suggest low risk.

For instance - If you have a small warehouse containing thousands of newly WD40ed chairs where smoking is permitted and the space is heated by a series of open fires (and has sleeping accommodation for disabled persons above) then you might have a few issues.

I must be honest, but as a general thought without knowing all the circumstances, this issue does sound a bit trivial and likely to be originated by a pedantic member of staff, pehaps with another agenda.

Perhaps contact WD40 and ask them for info.
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by Ian Rienewerf »

It's a good job we don't all work in a furniture warehouse, or a WD40 factory.

It must be terrifying knowing that if the fire alarm goes off, and I walk safely outside - my favorite squeeky office chair isn't going to survive the ordeal (That's the chair with the oil stain on the fabric).

A quick retort would be to robustly suggest that the militant persons department goes 100% paper free (due to the fire risk) and see who backs down first.

An internal realtions problem - and a lack of departmental co-operation appears to be a good call Messy.
It must be nice to have enough time to worry about these trivial minor issues.
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by roblan28 »

Yes I agree totally it must be brilliant to be able to worry about the trival things; as everyone has no doubt read between the lines it is a really trival matter which has been blown out of all proportions, by two senior members of our organisation.
This morning I went the production director ( my own boss ) who I assume got the two of them together and told them to smell the coffee.
He has also told me that we will both review the Fire Risk assessments ( scheduled 11am Fri ) for both engineering and admin areas and do it with zero tolerance, the assisstants for both areas will be the directors, again it going to be a case of smell the coffee.
I suspect there was a bit of frustration yesterday when I came in to find an issue which I thought was safely put to bed last week grew into a CRISIS.

Thanks again to all who reassured me it wasn't really a CRISIS.

Thanks go to Martin
Some lovely people at FIRA gave me the low down on the foams - yes WD40 will degrade the foams but by such a small amount that its not an issue. in fact I think I made their day; one guy really couldn't keep the laughter at bay, which again made my day.

So to wrap this up lesson learned - when someone says " but its the princple" - don't be diplomatic - be a very dogmatic about all safety problems in that person's area.

as I said in the last post - nightshift for the next fortnight - great !
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Re: WD40 spray

Post by Ian Rienewerf »

roblan28 wrote:He has also told me that we will both review the Fire Risk assessments ( scheduled 11am Fri ) for both engineering and admin areas and do it with zero tolerance
What a top bloke your boss is.
He's put the shoe on the other foot, to give them a good kicking with it.
Zero tolerance - My kind of guy.

I wish everyone had that kind of common sense support from their mangement team.
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