Instruction Sheet “Use of fog machines 1”

Instruction Sheet
“Use of fog machines 1”
Fog machines may only be used after prior consultation with
NürnbergMesse (Facility & Event Services) in due time before the
event. NürnbergMesse must be notified of the type and model of
fog machine used and the data sheet, the fog machine operating
instructions and the safety data sheet for the fog fluid are to be
submitted. Proof of regular inspections of the machine must also
be provided if applicable.
NürnbergMesse will charge the organizer for the cost of substitute
measures if firefighting appliances must be deactivated before operating a fog machine. The organizer and/or person responsible will be
charged for the cost of calling out the fire brigade if the fire alarm
system is set off without prior consultation with NürnbergMesse.
Only fog machines conforming to the basic requirements of the current
Equipment and Product Safety Act (German GPSG) may be provided and
If vaporizing fog machines are provided and used, the declaration of
conformity of these machines must confirm compliance with DIN VDE
The type of use and the specific operating conditions must be taken into
account when selecting fog machines. The user of the fog machines must
be in possession of the relevant operating instructions.
General hazards associated with the use of fog
The conditions for the use of fog effects are based on the performance
requirements and an assessment of the risk.
The fog is to be limited to the necessary amount and agreed with all
concerned. Suitable measures are to be implemented to reduce the fog as
much as possible in areas in which it is not required for performance
The following hazards are to be included in the risk assessment of all
types of fog production:
Visibility obstructions
Obstacles, places with a risk of falling or injury like stairs, lowered areas,
exits, sharp edges, etc. are to be marked especially clearly if fog is used,
likewise escape routes and emergency exits.
If thick fog is used and obstacles, hazardous areas or their marking are
not visible, special care is necessary to avoid these hazards.
Fog must not cause warning and safety equipment and particularly
escape route signs to become unrecognizable.
Risk of slipping
Fog directed onto a cold and smooth surface from a short distance
away can cause condensation. Even thin layers of moisture can cause a
risk of slipping and constitute a hazard, particularly for dancers, artistes
and all other actors within the range of the fog machines.
Measures must be taken to prevent condensation and the accompanying risk of slipping occurring within a radius of one to two meters.
Condensation on the performance area and spilt fluids must be
removed as quickly as possible.
Reaction of respiratory passages
As a high concentration of fog can cause a reaction in susceptible persons
(e.g. dryness of the respiratory passages due to the hygroscopic property
of fog), the use of fog must be notified in good time before the event.
Higher concentrations may especially occur in the performance area.
Creation of hazardous substances through inappropriate use
Fog fluids and additives (e.g. fragrances and processing aids) are only
to be used in fog machines if they are declared as suitable for the
machine by the manufacturer. The instructions for use apply.
The arbitrary mixing of fog fluids with fragrances and other additives is
not allowed and users are not to mix different fog fluids or prepare
their own fog fluids.
Risk of fire and explosion
Fog fluids that are inflammable, easily inflammable or highly inflammable
within the meaning of Art. 4 of the current Hazardous Substances Act
(German GefStoffV) shall not be used indoors.
The fog produced must not create any flame in the outlet area and not be
combustible within a distance of half a meter. No ignition sources are to
be located near the fog outlet. A safety clearance of at least one meter is
to be maintained. Fog fluids may only be stored in the manufacturer’s
original containers.
If fog is used in rooms monitored by automatic fire detectors, the fire
alarm system must be deactivated within the range of the fog machines.
In this case, equivalent substitute measures are to be implemented, for
example, a fire watchman.
Fog machines not in use are to be disconnected from the mains to prevent
the risk of fire through overheating after a fault.
Risk of malfunctioning of fog machines
Only properly maintained fog machines are to be used and these must
pass a visual and functional inspection without faults. Unpleasant
smells, machines that do not work correctly or the discharge of unvaporized fluid indicate defective operation. Such machines are to be
serviced or repaired.
Technical maintenance is to be performed at regular intervals by the
manufacturer or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Types of fog production:
Fog through cold
for ground fog, e.g. using dry
ice, liquid nitrogen
Fog through heating
clouds, room fog,
mist, also ground fog, e.g.
Fog through mech. methods
mist, e.g. atomizer method
Fog through cold: e.g. “DRY ICE”
Ground fog is usually produced by vaporizing dry ice, which is frozen carbon
dioxide. The fog is distributed passively or with the help of a low-power
Dry ice fog machines are equipped with a water tank and electric heating
elements in the tank heat up the water to temperatures near the boiling
point depending on the system. Measures to protect against scalding may
be necessary depending on the temperature of the water bath.
Carbon dioxide gas is heavier than air. It can accumulate in low areas and
force out the air. This constitutes a risk to life in performances at floor level
– for example, persons lying on a floor covered with dry ice fog.
A risk of poisoning or suffocation exists if the concentration of carbon
dioxide is not sufficiently diluted. To protect against these hazards, measures
must be taken to prevent the accumulation of carbon dioxide in hollows
and low areas. This may require extracting the (invisible, odorless) carbon
dioxide from hollows and discharging it into the outside air.
Dry ice is very cold (minus 80 °C) and can cause frostbite on direct contact.
Dry ice and any residues are to be stored to prevent access by unauthorized persons.
Personal protective equipment is required for handling dry ice: protective
gloves, gloves insulated against the cold and, if necessary, safety goggles.
The hazards and protective measures necessary for using nitrogen for
fog production differ only slightly from those for handling dry ice.
Instruction Sheet
“Use of fog machines 1”
Fog through heating: e.g. “VAPORIZER”
Most fog for stage effects is created with vaporizer fog machines.
In these machines the fog fluid is sucked out of a tank or container, heated
and pressed through a jet. The fluid is a mixture of alcohols and water. The
alcohols used are hygroscopic. The bonded water forms the fog after passing
though the jet and the cooling and expansion processes. The properties of
the fog produced can be influenced by the choice of fog fluids and the
machine settings.
Ground fog can also be produced with the aid of attachments. Here the
fog from a vaporizer fog machine is cooled until it is distinctly heavier than
air and sinks correspondingly quickly.
To provide information about the ingredients of the fog fluids or fragrance
additives, the manufacturer’s information and a safety data sheet must be
requested and be available for inspection at the event. Only fog fluids with
vaporization temperatures that match the temperature of the vaporizer are
to be purchased.
Risks can occur if inferior quality fluids are used with component properties
that are irritating or damaging to health.
The addition of fragrance additives to the fluid and exceeding the stated
optimum fog temperature of the fluid must be carefully avoided to exclude
possible hazards through unknown reactions.
There is a risk of burning on the hot surface of the fog outlet. It may also
be necessary to wait until the machine cools down before removing protective covers.
Fog through mechanical methods:
e.g. “atomizer method” (crackers)
Oil crackers atomize oil by mechanical means without heating it. The oil
mist produced is very stable and does not mix with the surrounding air.
Water/glycol crackers atomize the fog fluids in the same mechanical way as
oil crackers. The fog fluid consists of water and polyvalent alcohols.
The condensation deposited by the fog on equipment – such as performance areas, decorations, trusses and machines – is a problem, as it creates
a risk of slipping.
Oil fog and water/glycol fog are preferably used only in areas that the cast
do not need to enter.
The condensation must be removed as quickly as possible.
Attention must also be paid to the special features of operating compressors and accessories. The system is to be depressurized before changing fittings, hose connections or additional elements.
Instruction sheet based on: OHS information “Special Stage Effects
and Operations” (BGI 810-5), VBG, Hamburg, 2007