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Warning issued about cell phone use in industrial settings

Arlington, VA -- In the U.S., the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued an alert advising of a potent...


Arlington, VA — In the U.S., the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued an alert advising of a potential cell phone hazard in industry. It has been reported that the use of cell phones around combustible gases can cause an explosion. The MSHA recommends turning cell phones off before entering sites with potential explosive mixtures.

An employee on an offshore drilling rig received second-degree burns when he answered his cell phone while working on a panel which contained an explosive mixture of gas. Similarly, a driver suffered burns when gasoline fumes ignited, causing and explosion as he was talking on his mobile phone while his vehicle was being fuelled.

The MSHA recommends reading the instruction book for your cell phone. Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia print cautions in their user handbooks that warn against mobile phones in gas stations, fuel storage sites and chemical factories.

Users are advised to turn off their mobile phones before entering any area with a potentially explosive atmosphere (eg. areas around degas wells; coal storage areas; fuelling areas, such as gas stations; below deck on boats; fuel transfer storage facilities; chemical transfer and storage facilities; and areas where the air contains chemicals or particles, such as coal dust, grain dust or metal powders.

The MSHA further advises users not to transport or store flammable gas, liquid or explosives in the same compartment of their vehicle that contains their mobile phone and its accessories.