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Thursday, October 16, 2014

OSHA Penalties Force Pet Food Manufacturer to Close


OSHA Standards, Penalties, Force Illinois Pet Food Manufacturer to Shutter

Posted: October 15, 2014, 9:55 a.m. EDT

All-Feed Processing and Packaging Inc. can’t afford to pay the penalties OSHA has levied for numerous safety violations and is now closing its doors.

In May, the agency hit All-Feed with $254,000 in fines for exposing workers to combustible-dust and respiratory hazards.

"Having spent basically every penny that we have to come into compliance, there’s just nothing left for the citations, said Tim Anderson, owner of All-Feed, whose factory is located in Galva and main
office in Alpha, Ill.

The company will continue production for two or three months to fulfill existing contracts with its customers; however, the company won’t take on any new contracts, Anderson added.

All-Feed provides grinding, cleaning and packaging services to the pet-food industry, and it also offers R&D services such as granulation, dehydration, roasting and separation for new products or packaging.

OSHA inspected All-Feed’s Galva plant in November 2013, responding to a complaint. The agency cited All-Feed for one repeat and five willful violations, alleging that the plant’s high concentration of airborne dust created an explosion hazard and could cause workplace-induced asthma and other illnesses.

The November 2013 inspection was the most recent in a slew of OSHA inspections dating back to January 2011, which landed All-Feed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"All-Feed Processing and Packaging continues to demonstrate a complete disregard for the health and safety of its workers by failing to protect them from combustible dust hazards. These can ignite quickly, without warning, and can cause catastrophic damage,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria, Ill., in May 2014. "The employees at All-Feed deserve an employer that cares about their safety, and this company keeps failing to provide that.”

The company has not laid off or terminated any of the factory’s 20 workers, but it has reduced their hours, Anderson said.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tips to extinguish factory fire risks

5 tips to extinguish factory fire risks

From PropertyCasualty360

5 tips to extinguish factory fire risks
















Last week was National Fire Prevention Week, which commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed an estimated 300 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,000 structures. In honor of Fire Prevention Week, Zurich presents tips to prevent factory fires.


A factory fire can spell devastating consequences for a company and its employees. A fire at a factory or manufacturing facility can result in loss of life, injured workers, loss of wages from a factory shutdown, and production downtime. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), property losses at U.S. factories total nearly $1billion each year.


Factory fires can be caused by three common factors: hot work, combustible dust, or hydraulic fluid leaks. "Hot work" is defined as any process that can be a source of ignition when flammable material is present, such as welding. Zurich recommends companies don't use hot work if cold methods can be used instead. In instances where hot work is used, Zurich advises to remove combustible and flammable materials from the area and ventilate flammable vapors.

Make sure combustible dust does not accumulate to more than 1/32 of an inch. Use cleaning methods that prevent dust clouds from going up
into the air. For hydraulic fluids, make sure to inspect and properly maintain equipment to prevent a leak from occurring. (Click the chart on the right for more tips.)


Even with proper workplace prevention, accidents can still happen.












5 tips for factory owners to prepare a building and its occupants for the possibility of a fire.

 



1. Gather information. 


It is important to note any unoccupied floors in the building, get alarm system details, identify hydrant availability, get information on the fire protection systems as well as heating and cooling systems, and learn the quantities and locations of hazardous materials or machinery.  Make sure to list all tenants and get descriptions of their businesses, hours of operation and when they are on site, their location, contact information, and if they have employees with specific rescue needs.






2. Document and publish information.

Develop written fire plans that are easy to understand, accessible, and regularly updated. Include the information gathered on the previous page, including property and tenant data, as well as maps, diagrams, and drawings that reflect the building's construction, the surrounding property's configuration, or tenant dwellings. Include information like blueprints, floor plans, and aerial photographs of the building showing its size, height, and fire-related walls. File the information and
publish it in binders. Make the plan electronically accessible on your server or in the cloud as well.








3. Host building walk-throughs.


Invite the local fire department to visit the building periodically, especially in areas predominantly served by volunteer firefighters where officers frequently change. Letting the fire department get direct knowledge of a building may help save lives and minimize damage in the event of a fire.  Inspections and walk-throughs of complex buildings help familiarize current fire officers with your building's layout and could be helpful.







4. Practice, practice, practice. 


Conduct regular fire drills to inform employees of efficient and effective exit strategies in the event of a fire. Employees should be aware of the exits in their areas and how to safely reach them when they
need to evacuate the premises. Employees should meet at a pre-determined location after evacuating the building in order to take a head count.









5. Assign tasks. 


Appoint building fire wardens and assign them with evacuating building occupants in the event of a fire. Make sure to appoint specific people who are likly to be in the building at all hours to notify the
fire department in the event of an emergency. In these roles, owners and occupants are just as vital to a pre-fire plan as fire departments.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Biomass is more highly regulated than most people realize

US Industrial Pellet Association conference wraps with impassioned producer panel

From Biomassmagazine.com


USIPA conference wraps with impassioned producer panel

By Tim Portz | October 03, 2014




The 2014 Export Pellets Conference concluded with a panel comprised of a selection of the producer members of the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, moderated by the organization’s executive director, Seth Ginther.


The session began with brief updates from each of the producers about their accomplishments and activities from the previous year.

Joining the panel for the first time and introducing himself to the conference delegation was E-Pellets Group CEO Doug Albrecht. E-Pellets recently acquired the formally boarded up Louisiana Pacific OSB mill in Athens, Georgia, to convert it into a wood pellet production facility.

The facility is expected to produce 450,000 metric tons annually by August 2015.

Most notable during this introductory segment was an announcement from Zilkha Biomass CEO Jack Holmes that Zilkha’s first commercial-scale facility producing the much anticipated steam exploded pellets would be operational in January and expected to deliver its first shipment of pellets to Europe in March of 2015.


The bulk of the remaining discussion revolved around the continuing struggle producers are having placing their industry within the broader framework of North American forestry for skeptical foreign media outlets, nongovernmental organizations and policymakers. While earlier in the conference it was established that over 60 percent of British citizens support the use of biomass for power production, pelletproducers are wary of a vocal and well organized minority adamantly opposed to the use of woody biomass as a coal replacement.


A Sept. 28 story published in the London Sunday times was referenced during the Q&A session, in which the author of the article, Danny Fortson described the regulation of North American forestry as
“notoriously lax.”


Mike Williams of Westervelt Renewable Energy reacted to the quote and said, “We are more highly regulated than most people realize.” He cited the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Environmental Protection Agency as federal regulations that impact the activities of all forestry practices. He continued by citing the company’s voluntary certification programs and said, “I would invite him [Fotrson] to participate in our Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council and Best Management Practice audits.


Morten Neraas, president and CEO from Green Circle added, “Often times people get on a crusade and begin to conveniently ignore the facts.” Ginther continued the conversation and recounted a meeting that he and USIPA Chairman Harold Arnold had with members of Greenpeace in England earlier this summer. “They simply had not taken a deep dive into how forestry worked,” said Ginther. Arnold followed Ginther and said, “I want to believe that these organizations have noble goals,” but then pivoted and called NGO practices “sensationalism” deployed largely to motivate the organization’s supporters to contribute more money to NGO coffers.


Despite the frustration, the panel was unanimous in their understanding that if they hoped to enjoy a long-term market opportunity in the U.K., this was a conversation they were going to have to
continue to engage in. “The utilities are telling us to give them what they need to prove that what they are doing is sustainable and legal,and we need to be able to do that,” said Williams.


As the panel drew to a close, producers were asked to imagine what the pellet market would like in 2027 as the subsidies that support their use in British power plants expire that year. Ginther suggested that the industry would need to begin thinking and strategizing about how to become “subsidy independent” and others on the panel referred to the end of subsidies as a “cliff” that was now just over a decade away.

Production and transportation efficiencies were all mentioned and progress in those categories were expected and cited, but no panelist thought these improvements and savings would be enough. “The cost of the fuel will never drive all of the cost reductions needed,” said Arnold.

While power stations in the U.S. and Canada were mentioned as potential candidates for future market growth, the panel cited a strong coal lobby and low shale gas prices as a barrier to the growth of that market.


Before the panel wrapped, Williams returned to the question of the industry’s overall sustainability and wondered aloud, “I just don’t understand how people would think we would destroy the resource that we rely on for our business.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grain Dust Explosion

Dust Explosion Injures 4


Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:20am
FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press 

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Flames from welding equipment touched off a grain-dust explosion at a Nestlé Purina plant in Flagstaff Sunday, burning two workers severely and leaving two others with less serious burns, authorities said.

The four contractors were welding about 5 p.m. on the fifth floor of the complex's seven-story grain elevator when their torches sparked grain dust and set off the blast, Flagstaff Fire Department Capt. Bill Morse said.

One man was severely burned and taken by air ambulance to the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, and another man with severe burns was transported by ground ambulance to the same center, Morse said.

A third man suffered moderate burns and was taken to the Flagstaff Medical Center, while another man with less serious burns was treated and released from the center, Morse said.

The explosion did not produce a long-lasting fire but it blew out metal doors at the front of the grain elevator, said Morse. He said he did not know the name of the contracting company for which the men worked.

Other parts of the Nestlé Purina complex were unaffected by the explosion, Morse said.

On weekends, production is halted in the complex's grain elevator so workers can carry out  maintenance projects, he said.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration website says grain dust is the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling.


Monday, September 15, 2014

OSHA’s Increased Enforcement of Facilities with Combustible Dusts Hazards | The National Law Review





OSHA’s Increased Enforcement of Facilities with Combustible Dusts Hazards

Monday, September 8, 2014

CSB Investigation Warns of Dust Explosion Risk at Recycling Facilities

VIDEO: CSB Investigation Warns of Dust Explosion Risk at Recycling Facilities from Waste Management World


VIDEO: CSB Investigation Warns of Dust Explosion Risk at Recycling Facilities





VIDEO: CSB Investigation Warns of Dust Explosion Risk at Recycling Facilities



The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released its final report, safety recommendations and accompanying safety video into a fatal combustible dust explosion at the AL Solutions metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia.

As presented to the Board for a vote at a public meeting in Charleston, the report reiterates a recommendation that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgate a general industry combustible dust standard, which CSB said it has been calling for since its 2006 study on these preventable accidents.

The December 9, 2010 accident at the AL Solutions metal recycling facility, which milled and processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal, killed three employees and injured a contractor.
The CSB said that the incident is one of nine serious combustible dust incidents investigated by the CSB since 2003. These explosions and fires caused 36 deaths and 128 injuries.

According to the CSB’s report, most solid organic materials, as well as many metals, will explode if the particles are small enough, and they are dispersed in a sufficient concentration within a confined area, near an ignition source.

The report emphasised to industry that even seemingly small amounts of accumulated combustible dust can cause catastrophic damage.

The CSB investigation determined that AL Solutions experienced a history of fatal dust fires and explosions.

A newly developed CSB safety video entitled ‘Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed’ details the process of milling and blending metal powder at the facility which was then pressed into dense disk called ‘compacts’.

“The CSB learned that the AL Solutions facility had fatal fires and explosions involving metal dust in 1995 and 2006 in addition to the 2010 explosion. Also, from 1993 until the accident in 2010, there were at least seven fires that required responses from the local fire department,” explained investigator Mark Wingard.

Around 1:20 pm on 9 December 2010, CSB said that a spark or hot-spot from the blender likely ignited the zirconium powder inside. The resulting flash fire lofted the metal dust particles in the blender, forming a burning metal dust cloud.

The cloud ignited other combustible dust within the production building, causing a secondary explosion that ripped through the plant, killing three workers and injuring a contract employee.

“Preventable combustible dust explosions continue to occur, causing worker deaths and injuries. The CSB believes it is imperative for OSHA to  issue a comprehensive combustible dust standard for general industry with clear control requirements to prevent dust fires and explosions,” commented chairperson Rafael Moure-Eras.

In presenting the findings of the case study, CSB’s lead investigator, Johnnie Banks, said: “As the metals were broken down during milling, the risk of a metal dust fire or explosion increased as the metal particles decreased in size.

“At AL Solutions a metal blender used to process zirconium was having mechanical problems that had not been adequately repaired. As a result, the blender was producing heat or sparks due to metal-to-metal contact.”

Investigator Wingard added: “The National Fire Protection Association Standard for Combustible Metals, called NFPA 484, recommends specific practices for controlling metal dust, but AL Solutions did not voluntarily follow those guidelines, and there are no federal OSHA standards to enforce similar requirements.

“In its 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Study, the CSB recommended that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard for general industry based on the current NFPA guidelines.”

The CSB’s report and video encourage industry to take action to prevent combustible dust incidents.  In July 2013, the CSB identified its 2006 recommendation to develop a combustible dust standard as the first issue in its ‘Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvement’ outreach program.

According to Moure-Eraso, had a national standard for combustible dust been in place in 2006 – and if industry had followed the requirements – many of the severe dust incidents that followed, including AL Solutions, may have been prevented.

“The time is now for OSHA to take action to prevent these tragic accidents,” he urged.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
More on this story and accompanying video can be seen in WMW’s weekly newscast below.


Read More

VIDEO: Huge Fire Destroys Chemical Recycling Facility in Leeds, UK
An investigation into a huge fire which was tackled by over 100 firefighters at a chemical recycling facility in Leeds, UK is underway.

Fire Detection: Tracking the Source
For waste and recycling facilities, fire is a huge danger. Detecting fire hazards before a fire breaks out, and quickly fighting the potential source of fire in a targeted manner can potentially save millions in revenue. Fire protection systems which use infrared thermography can offer significant advantages. By Dr Jörg Lantzsch.

VIDEO: New Fire Suppression System for Waste and Recycling Mobile Equipment
Tyco Fire Protection Products (TFPP) has launched a fire suppression system aimed at mobile equipment operating in harsh environments such as the waste and recycling industry.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Industry-led Manufacturers Advisory Group seeks to reduce Combustible Dust Explosions

Group seeks to reduce explosions


Industry-led Manufacturers Advisory Group (MAG) has the goal of providing the industry with a better understanding of (and improved ability to manage the risks created by) combustible wood dust.

by Treena Hein | Jun 2014


As a result of BC Safety Authority (BCSA)’s investigations into the Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills sawmill explosions in 2012, it issued a safety order in 2013 to over 400 wood processing facilities in B.C. that may have equipment installed in locations deemed hazardous because of the potential presence of combustible dust.

As a result of BC Safety Authority (BCSA)’s investigations into the Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills sawmill explosions in 2012, it issued a safety order in 2013 to over 400 wood processing facilities in B.C. that may have equipment installed in locations deemed hazardous because of the potential presence of combustible dust. 

June 10, 2014 - The British Columbia forestry sector saw two dust explosions at sawmills in 2012, and in each explosion, two people were killed and others were injured. These terrible events spurred the creation of an industry-led Manufacturers Advisory Group (MAG), which has the goal of  providing the industry with a better understanding of (and improved ability to manage the risks created by) combustible wood dust.

The MAG task force created an ‘auditable standard’ that can be used to provide independent assurance of mill safety, explains James Gorman, president and CEO of the B.C. Council of Forest Industries (COFI). A mill’s equipment, systems and processes are audited from a wood dust mitigation and control perspective – with input from employees, supervisors, management and others on site. The physical scope of the audit extends from raw material handling areas through to loading and shipping. It also includes the development of action plans and follow-up.


Early this year, B.C. government Minister Shirley Bond (Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour) warned sawmill owners that they must comply with new dust control regulations or they will face consequences. The regulations (which the MAG auditable standard tool helps companies comply with) require that there be less than 1/8 inch of dust on no more than five per cent of any given work area.


The Minister’s actions were in response to a WorksafeBC report on dust safety in sawmills issued in February. Between November 2013 and January 2014, WorksafeBC inspected 144 mills and found that only 83 of them were in compliance with regulations at the time of inspection. A new round of inspections commenced in April.


Gorman notes that companies have had the MAG audit tool available to them since January to measure their own performance relative to dust control before a WorkSafeBC inspector arrives. However, sign-up for the tool has been poor so far: only 55 of 144 sawmills have signed up, and
those 55 are all MAG members.


Gorman does not speculate as to why some companies have not yet adopted the tool. He notes that COFI is in the process of making sign-up a requirement for membership, but that there is: “a huge number of independent companies out there that don’t belong to associations.” 


“Industry organizations like COFI are encouraging large and small operators across the province to fully commit to adopting the audit tool,” he explains. “MAG members – who represent about 75 per cent of lumber processing in B.C. – are also encouraging other companies to fully implement the tool in their operations, and some are extending it to their operations outside of Canada. We have made all of the associated materials available on the WorksafeBC website to anyone in the industry.” Gorman expects more companies to begin using the tool as the year progresses.


United front
On March 28, a meeting about dust safety was held in B.C. A cross-section of industry associations including COFI, some independent lumber manufacturers, organized labour representatives and WorkSafeBC staff met with Minister Bond as well as the Minister of Forest and Range to develop a joint work plan to ensure all companies meet the government’s dust control regulation.


A joint press release was issued afterwards, which Gorman considers important because it shows a united front from those in attendance. It states, “We had a frank and open discussion on sustainable compliance at this meeting and the result is an aggressive co-ordinated plan to accomplish a number of specific outcomes in the next 90 days.” For example, a team of technical experts established by industry and supported by WorkSafeBC will be created to help all mills with compliance.


Additionally, at organized labour’s request, the joint work plan includes a review of the MAG audit tool by all parties to evaluate it as an enforceable standard. WorkSafeBC has agreed to lead that analysis moving forward.


Sawmill employers, organized labour and WorkSafeBC will also launch an awareness campaign about the rights of workers to refuse unsafe work. A toolbox kit relating to this topic will be provided by WorkSafeBC toemployers and health and safety representatives in all sawmills.

Inspections and compliance
Before the meeting on March 28th, we asked WorkSafeBC what strategies it is using to achieve regulatory compliance among sawmills, and how close it is to shutting down mills because they do not have adequate dust control. WorkSafeBC’s Senior Media Manager Trish Knight Chernecki directed us to a statement, which explains that “where prevention officers find issues that can cause an unsafe environment for workers, officers will educate and consult, and as necessary, write orders to oblige the employer to address those safety issues. As required, WorkSafeBC may also apply administrative penalties.”


As mentioned above, from November 2013 to January 2014, WorkSafeBC found that only 83 of the 144 inspected locations were in full compliance. The organization notes that many of those locations had dust control plans incorporating significant engineering controls to augment and mitigate the amount of manual dust cleanup required. Gorman confirms that sawmill companies have spent millions on better dust control since the tragedies in 2012.


Over the inspection period, WorkSafeBC handed out 93 orders related to combustible dust, most for unacceptable levels of dust accumulation outside normal production areas (for example, basements, crawl spaces, overhead areas, areas hidden behind motor control centres or cabinets and outside areas). The organization handed out 13 stop-work orders relating to unacceptable accumulations of secondary dust and other significant violations, which posed an immediate hazard to the health and safety of workers. However, WorkSafeBC states that: “In most cases, the areas noted were cleaned the same day, allowing production to resume by the next shift. These locations are subject to frequent ongoing inspections to ensure compliance is maintained while mill operators address the challenges noted.”


“Two locations inspected during the initiative received a second stop-work order and have been directed to participate in a closely-monitored compliance plan that includes weekly submissions to WorkSafeBC prevention officers regarding their dust management process. Officers are inspecting these locations at an increased frequency during this monitored phase to ensure the workplaces remain in compliance with WorkSafeBC requirements and expectations.”


There were 17 warning letters given out during this inspection phase. “Warning letters and penalties are tools used by officers, as necessary, to motivate certain employers to comply,” says WorkSafeBC.


As part of the ‘joint work plan’ created at the March 28th meeting, WorkSafeBC will double the size of the designated inspection team to 20 and launch further sawmill inspections (‘Phase 4’ of its inspection initiative in this sector). The focus of this phase will be on companies which have been found to be out of compliance, but all sawmills will be included.


In addition, WorkSafeBC will continue to review its Occupational Health and Safety Policy with a focus, at this stage, on high-risk violations and the consequences for non-compliance. The elements that can lead to a dust explosion will be included.


Gorman is positive about all that is happening in relation to dust in B.C.’s sawmills. “Government, industry, and safety authorities are working closely together to address the risk of combustible wood dust,” he says. “The necessary steps are being taken to achieve sustained compliance with the regulations.”

Wood Processing Plants Continue to Fail Regulatory Inspections

WPAC - Lack of concern - from Canadian Biomass Magazine


Despite dust explosion tragedies, many mills fail inspections.


Written by Gordon Murray

  
It has been more than two years since the January and April 2012 explosions that destroyed the Babine and Lakeland sawmills in central British Columbia, tragically killing four workers, injuring forty-four more, and putting hundreds out of work.

Investigations by WorkSafe BC (WSBC) and BC Safety Authority (BCSA) determined that both explosions were preventable, having been caused by ineffective control of combustible dust. Each mill was cutting beetle-killed pine, which produces a considerably greater volume of wood dust and much finer dust than from cutting green wood. Suspended dust, confined space, oxygen, and an ignition source combined to cause both explosions. Regulators and forest industry leadership responded swiftly and aggressively.

WSBC developed a combustible dust strategy to cover all categories of wood processing plants. Their strategy included reminding employers of their obligations under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation and advancing a combustible dust management program for employers, consisting of facility risk assessment, development of a combustible dust management plan and employee training. WSBC issued orders for all employers to clean combustible dust in their plants and followed with four successive phases of inspections to assess compliance.

Similarly, BCSA (administrator of the Safety Standards Act) issued a safety order regarding combustible dust to 403 active and inactive sawmills, pulp and paper mills, pellet mills, remanufacturing mills, and other wood processors. Forest industry leaders formed the Manufacturers’ Advisory Group (MAG) to focus on industry efforts with respect to combustible dust. MAG engaged FPInnovations to improve industry’s understanding of dust sampling, analysis and explosibility and to provide an analysis of how to apply National Fire Protection Association standards to wood processing plants. MAG also developed a dust audit tool and set about organizing workshops and other educational resources for industry members. WSBC, BCSA, MAG, the BC Office of the Fire Commissioner, and the Steelworkers Union formed the Fire Inspection and Prevention Initiative to enable multi-stakeholder cooperation and to provide management and worker training.

Yet, given the experience of the Babine and Lakeland tragedies, it is extremely distressing that a significant number of wood processing plants (including pellet plants) continue to fail regulatory inspections. BCSA reported in March that 34 per cent of plants failed their safety inspections due to inadequate dust management plans; dust accumulations adjacent to electrical and gas equipment; lack of understanding of the level of dust that is hazardous; and poor housekeeping.

Similarly, fully 61 of 144 employer locations were not in regulatory compliance during WSBC’s third phase of inspection and 93 orders were issued in relation to combustible dust. Most orders were for “unacceptable levels of dust accumulations outside normal production areas; i.e. basements, crawl spaces, overhead areas, areas hidden behind motor control centres or cabinets, and outside areas.”

While WSBC and BCSA acknowledge that many employers have made substantial progress at implementing systems and equipment to control combustible dust, the number of non-compliant employer locations is simply unacceptable. Surely employers must understand by now the catastrophic consequences of a dust explosion and the means of prevention. It is beyond comprehension that combustible dust remains a crisis issue to be solved.

Recently, B.C. Crown prosecutors announced their intention not to pursue criminal charges relating to the Babine or Lakeland explosions. This caused a wave of public protest putting the B.C. government and WSBC under extreme pressure to prevent such injuries and loss of life from ever happening again. Yet, a substantial portion of our industry remains non-compliant with respect to combustible dust and the risk of another mill explosion remains substantial. And now, given our experience and
all we have learned, the consequences would be unimaginable.

For more on combustible dust and the new regulations, go to http://www.woodbusiness.ca/harvesting/dust-control .


Gordon Murray is executive director of the Wood Pellet Association
of Canada. He encourages all those who want to support and benefit from
the growth of the Canadian wood pellet industry to join. Gordon welcomes
all comments and can be contacted by telephone at 250-837-8821 or by
email at
gord@pellet.org.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

NFPA Standards- a viable solution to reduce combustible dust accidents

NFPA Standards- a viable solution to reduce combustible dust accidents

From the National Fire Protection Association Blog



Imperial
Chemical Safety Board (CSB)
Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso wrote an opinion piece, which appeared in Saturday’s New York Times
where he chronicled a number of horrific manufacturing accidents inrecent years that had significant fatalities and worker injuries. All

were attributed to combustible dust. The most recent example was an explosion in a metal products factory in China this month that claimed the lives of 75 people and injured 185. He voiced his frustration about a lack of action to prevent these tragedies.


I share his frustration for two reasons. First, while combustible dust is a normal by-product of the manufacturing process for a variety of items, if it is effectively managed it will reduce deaths and injuries should a fire or explosion occur. Second, NFPA codes and standards provide the means to manage combustible dust but are not being adopted and/or enforced to the extent they should be.


NFPA has published fire protection standards for various solids processing industries that
generate combustible dusts, for over 70 years. The similar fundamental approach exists within our standards today to that first established in the 1920's - limit the generation and release of the combustible dust (fuel side of fire triangle), identify and control ignition sources, and if an explosion still occurs, limit its spread by construction, isolation, housekeeping and explosion prevention methods (like suppression).


Over the years investigations by CSB concluded that if existing NFPA standards had been followed incidents would have not occurred or certainly results mitigated. The issue was further highlighted in a CSB comprehensive dust study in 2006 showing the problem was more than an isolated series of events and continued to call on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop federal standards and initiate increased inspections.


OSHA did initiate the National Emphasis Program (NEP), which includes policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that create or handle combustible dusts. The NEP states that NFPA combustible dust standards should be consulted to obtain evidence of hazard recognition and feasible abatement methods.  Unfortunately, the movement to establish the mandatory regulation of combustible dust in all industries has stalled.


NFPA combustible dust standards are included in fire codes; so, in theory, our standards are referenced and adopted; but awareness within segments of the industry lags and overall enforcement is inconsistent.  OSHA should initiate the process to adopt NFPA standards as the national standards.


Standards developed through NFPA’s voluntary consensus process provide a practical, cost-effective solution for better fire, life and electric safety. There is a long history of government agencies and jurisdictions on all levels adopting privately developed standards. 
These standards then must be enforced. It takes the complete package – develop, adopt, enforce - to better protect individuals and property from hazards, including fires and explosions from combustible dusts.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Final report on AL Solutions metal dust explosion and fire that killed three in West Virginia

Final report on AL Solutions metal dust explosion and fire that killed three in West Virginia - Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue from the Hemming Group Ltd

Final report on AL Solutions metal dust explosion and fire that killed three in West Virginia

Published:  18 July, 2014
CSB renews call for OSHA combustible dust standard and releases safety video on the accident.

The US Chemical Safety Board’s report reiterates a recommendation that OSHA promulgate a general industry combustible dust standard, something the agency has been calling for since its definitive 2006 study on these preventable accidents.

The December 9, 2010 accident at the facility that milled and processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal killed three employees and injured a contractor.  The incident at the facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia, is one of nine serious combustible dust incidents investigated by the CSB since 2003. These explosions and fires caused 36 deaths and 128 injuries.

Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “Preventable combustible dust explosions continue to occur, causing worker deaths and injuries. The CSB believes it is imperative for OSHA to  issue a comprehensive combustible dust standard for general industry with clear control requirements to prevent dust fires and explosions.”

The CSB’s report notes that most solid organic materials, as well as many metals, will explode if the particles are small enough, and they are dispersed in a sufficient concentration within a confined
area, near an ignition source, and it emphasizes to industry that even seemingly small amounts of accumulated combustible dust can cause catastrophic damage.

The CSB investigation determined that AL Solutions experienced a history of fatal dust fires and explosions. Investigator Mark Wingard explained, “The CSB learned that the AL Solutions facility had fatal fires and explosions involving metal dust in 1995 and 2006 in addition to the 2010 explosion. Also, from 1993 until the accident in 2010, there were at least seven fires that required responses from the local fire department.”

A newly developed CSB safety video entitled “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed” details the process of milling and blending metal powder at the facility which was then pressed into dense disk called “compacts.” The video includes a 3D computer generated animation which shows how the accident unfolded at the plant.

In presenting the findings of the case study, CSB Lead Investigator Johnnie Banks explained, “As the metals were broken down during milling, the risk of a metal dust fire or explosion increased as the metal particles decreased in size. At AL Solutions a metal blender used to process zirconium was having mechanical problems that had not been adequately repaired. As a result, the blender was producing heat or sparks due to metal-to-metal contact.”

Around 1:20 pm on December 9, 2010, a spark or hot-spot from the blender likely ignited the zirconium powder inside. The resulting flash fire lofted the metal dust particles in the blender, forming a burning metal dust cloud.

The cloud ignited other combustible dust within the production building, causing a secondary explosion that ripped through the plant, killing three workers and injuring a contract employee.

Investigator Mark Wingard said, “The National Fire Protection Association Standard for Combustible Metals, called NFPA 484, recommends specific practices for controlling metal dust, but AL Solutions did not voluntarily follow those guidelines, and there are no federal OSHA standards to enforce similar requirements.  In its 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Study, the CSB recommended that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard for general industry based on the current NFPA guidelines.”

The CSB’s report and video encourage industry to take action to prevent combustible dust incidents.  In July 2013, the CSB identified its 2006 recommendation to develop a combustible dust standard as the first issue in its “Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvement” outreach program.

As Chairperson Moure-Eraso says in the video, “Had a national standard for combustible dust been in place in 2006 – and if industry had followed the requirements – many of the severe dust incidents that
followed, including AL Solutions, may have been prevented. The time is now for OSHA to take action to prevent these tragic accidents.”

Read the full report here.

Chemical Safety Board releases report on dust explosion

Chemical Safety Board releases report on dust explosion incident

Chemical Safety Board releases report on dust explosion incident

dust explosion chemical combusitbleThe U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB),
an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial
chemical accidents, has released its final report, safety
recommendations and an accompanying safety video in regard to a fatal
combustible dust explosion that occurred at AL Solutions’ metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia, in late 2010.

The report reiterates a recommendation that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgate a general industry combustibledust standard, something the agency has been calling for since its 2006study on what the board says are preventable accidents.

The Dec. 9, 2010, explosion at the West Virginia facility, a miller and processer of scrap titanium and zirconium metal, killed three employees and injured one contractor.

The CSB says the West Virginia incident is one of nine serious combustible dust incidents that it has investigated since 2003. In total, the explosions and fires caused 36 deaths and 128 injuries.

Rafael Moure-Eraso, CSB chairman, says, “Preventable combustible dust explosions continue to occur, causing worker deaths and injuries. The CSB believes it is imperative for OSHA to issue a comprehensive combustible dust standard for general industry with clear control requirements to prevent dust fires and explosions.”

The CSB report notes that most solid organic materials, as well as many metals, will explode if the particles are small enough and are dispersed in a sufficient concentration within a confined area, near an ignition source. The CSB report emphasizes that even small amounts of accumulated
combustible dust can cause catastrophic damage.

The CSB investigation also determined that AL Solutions experienced a history of fatal dust fires and explosions.

Mark Wingard, a CSB investigator, says, “The CSB learned that the AL Solutions facility had fatal fires and explosions involving metal dust in 1995 and 2006 in addition to the 2010 explosion. Also, from 1993 until the accident in 2010, there were at least seven fires that required responses from the local fire department.”

The CSB also has produced a safety video titled “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed,” which details the process of milling and blending metal powder at the facility, which is pressed into dense disks called “compacts.” The video includes a 3-D computer generated animation showing how the accident unfolded at the plant.

In presenting the findings of the study, Johnnie Banks, CSB lead investigator, says, “As the metals were broken down during milling, the risk of a metal dust fire or explosion increased as the metal particles decreased in size. At AL Solutions a metal blender used to process zirconium was having mechanical problems that had not been adequately repaired. As a result, the blender was producing heat or sparks due to metal-to-metal contact.”

Wingard adds, “The National Fire Protection Association Standard for Combustible Metals, called NFPA 484, recommends specific practices for controlling metal dust, but AL Solutions did not voluntarily follow those guidelines, and there are no federal OSHA standards to enforce similar requirements. In its 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Study, the CSB recommended that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard for general industry based on the current NFPA guidelines.”

In the video, Moure-Eraso says, “Had a national standard for combustible dust been in place in 2006—and if industry had followed the requirements—many of the severe dust incidents that followed, including AL Solutions, may have been prevented. The time is now for OSHA to take
action to prevent these tragic accidents.”

The CSB does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Combustible Dust: Safety Videos

Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed - Safety Videos - Multimedia | from the the U.S. Chemical Safety Board



CSB - U.S. CHEMICAL SAFETY BOARD -- An independent federal agency investigating chemical accidents to protect workers, the public, and the environment
Final Report on AL Solutions Metal Dust Explosion and Fire that Killed Three in West Virginia Leads CSB to Reemphasize Call for OSHA Combustible Dust Standard  
 CSB Releases Safety Video on Accident, “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed”

Charleston, WV, July 16, 2014 – Today the US Chemical Safety Board released its final report, safety recommendations and accompanying safety video into a fatal combustible dust explosion at the AL Solutions Interior photo of AL Solutions Following 2010 Fatal Accident metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia. As presented to the Board for a vote at a public meeting in Charleston today, the report reiterates a recommendation that OSHA promulgate a general industry combustible dust standard, something the agency has been calling for since its definitive 2006 study on these preventable accidents.
CLICK HERE to VIEW VIDEO
CLICK HERE to VIEW FINAL REPORT
The December 9, 2010 accident at the facility that milled and processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal killed three employees and injured a contractor.  The incident is one of nine serious combustible dust incidents investigated by the CSB since 2003. These explosions and fires caused 36 deaths and 128 injuries.

Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “Preventable combustible dust explosions continue to occur, causing worker deaths and injuries. The CSB believes it is imperative for OSHA to  issue a comprehensive combustible dust standard for general industry with clear control requirements to prevent dust fires and explosions.”

The CSB’s report notes that most solid organic materials, as well as many metals, will explode if the particles are small enough, and they are dispersed in a sufficient concentration within a confined area, near an ignition source, and it emphasizes to industry that even seemingly small amounts of accumulated combustible dust can cause catastrophic damage.
The CSB investigation determined that AL Solutions experienced a history of fatal dust fires and explosions. Investigator Mark Wingard explained, “The CSB learned that the AL Solutions facility had fatal fires and explosions involving metal dust in 1995 and 2006 in addition to the 2010 explosion. Also, from 1993 until the accident in 2010, there were at least seven fires that required responses from the local fire department.”

A newly developed CSB safety video entitled “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed” details the process of milling and blending metal powder at the facility which was then pressed into dense disk called “compacts.” The video includes a 3D computer generated animation which shows how the accident unfolded at the plant.

In presenting the findings of the case study, CSB Lead Investigator Johnnie Banks explained, “As the metals were broken down during milling, the risk of a metal dust fire or explosion increased as the metal particles decreased in size. At AL Solutions a metal blender used to process zirconium was having mechanical problems that had not been adequately repaired. As a result, the blender was producing heat or sparks due to metal-to-metal contact.”

Around 1:20 pm on December 9, 2010, a spark or hot-spot from the blender likely ignited the zirconium powder inside. The resulting flash fire lofted the metal dust particles in the blender, forming a burning metal dust cloud.

The cloud ignited other combustible dust within the production building, causing a secondary explosion that ripped through the plant, killing three workers and injuring a contract employee.

Investigator Mark Wingard said, “The National Fire Protection Association Standard for Combustible Metals, called NFPA 484, recommends specific practices for controlling metal dust, but AL Solutions did not voluntarily follow those guidelines, and there are no federal OSHA standards to enforce similar requirements.  In its 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Study, the CSB recommended that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard for general industry based on the current NFPA guidelines.”
The CSB’s report and video encourage industry to take action to prevent combustible dust incidents.  In July 2013, the CSB identified its 2006 recommendation to develop a combustible dust standard as the first issue in its “Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvement” outreach program.

As Chairperson Moure-Eraso says in the video, “Had a national standard for combustible dust been in place in 2006 – and if industry had followed the requirements – many of the severe dust incidents that followed, including AL Solutions, may have been prevented. The time is now for OSHA to take action to prevent these tragic accidents.”

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, cell 202-446-8094 or Sandy Gilmour, Public Affairs, cell 202-251-5496.


 
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