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Monday, May 4, 2015

Combustible Dust Vacuums Save Lives and Property -- Occupational Health & Safety

From Occupational Health & Safety



This breakaway central vacuum can move 10,000 pounds of powder in an hour from 30 feet away if needed. (Air Cleaning Technology photo)


 Combustible Dust Vacuums Save Lives and Property


Implementing a housekeeping routine to mitigate combustible dust minimizes explosion risk.

By David Kennedy / May 01, 2015
According to a 2012 report by the NFPA, there were an estimated 8,600 structural fires reported to U.S. fire departments each year at industrial or manufacturing properties between 2006 and 2010.

Dust, fiber, or lint (including sawdust) accounted for 12 percent of the items first ignited, just behind flammable or combustible liquids and gases, which topped the list at 13 percent. When fugitive dust is unchecked, these fires can quickly escalate into catastrophic secondary dust explosions, causing devastating injury, death, and property damage.


Shocking cases like the Imperial Sugar dust explosion that injured 42 and killed 14 and the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products explosion in China last August that killed 146 people stand out most in the public eye, but there have been 57 combustible dust incidents in the United States from 2009 to 2013 in which 26 people died and 129 were injured—and many of those who do survive suffer catastrophic injuries.


While some explosions are caused by a blatant disregard for human health and safety, like the three Hoeganaes explosions in a year1 that killed five workers and injured three, the NFPA asserts that many dust explosions occur due to a lack of knowledge, concluding from investigative findings that "owners/operators appear to be unaware of the hazards posed by combustible particulate solids that have the potential to form combustible dusts," as reported in the March April 2015 NFPA Journal.2


Compliance

There is a noted lack of solid regulation, and thus awareness, regarding the handling of fugitive dust for general industry, including food products, rubbers, metal, wood, pharmaceuticals, plastics, paint,
coatings, and synthetic organic chemicals, which is what the soon-to-be-released NFPA 652, Fundamentals on Combustible Dust, hopes to address.


In addition, the NFPA is also in the process of reviewing and modifying standards NFPA 61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities, NFPA 484, Standard for Combustible Metals, and NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids.


The current NFPA standards included in OSHA's Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) are NFPA 654, 61,484,664, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities and 655, Standard for Prevention of Sulfur Fires and Explosions.

Except for NFPA 61 and 664, which address combustible metals and food/agriculture products respectively, fugitive dust control and housekeeping standards are generally the same for  manufacturing, processing, and handling of combustible particulate solids, wood processing and woodworking facilities, and also for sulfur.


Housekeeping standards for combustible dust call for the use of industrial vacuum cleaners designed for Class II Division 2 environments to regularly remove and minimize dust accumulation on walls, floors, and horizontal surfaces such as equipment ledges, above suspended ceilings, and other  concealed surfaces. When disturbed, these accumulations of dust become airborne, forming a dust cloud with devastating potential.


Controlling the Explosion Pentagon
The explosion pentagon includes the three elements of the fire triangle, fuel (combustible dust), ignition source (heat), and an oxidizer (air), but it needs two additional elements: dispersion of dust particles (insufficient quantity and concentration) and the confinement of the dust cloud (vessel, area, or building).


If one of the elements is missing, a fire or explosion cannot occur. While it is difficult to remove air and fuel from the triangle, the first rule of fire prevention, and therefore explosion prevention, is to
eliminate the ignition source. While most machinery manufacturers design equipment with safety in mind, mechanical equipment is capable of malfunctioning, heating up, and causing ignitions.


In some plants, every precaution is taken to eliminate ignition sources to prevent fires and dust collection equipment is implemented to safely contain most of the dust in the plant; however, fugitive dust is often overlooked, and the regular removal of accumulations that can form into dust clouds must occur to prevent dust explosions.



Controlling Fugitive Dust

According to most NFPA standards regarding combustible dust, vacuuming is the preferred method for removing the dust. Whether they are central vacs or portable vacuums, they also need to meet NFPA 77 requirements for grounding and bonding. These vacuums also meet the definition of an
"intrinsically-safe system."


Industrial vacuum cleaners to control fugitive combustible dust should be suitable for use in Class II Division 2 areas. Vacuum cleaners in particular can be vulnerable to ignition, and that is why choosing a manufacturer that designs and builds its vacuum cleaners from the ground up to be explosion proof, ensuring there is no chance for the product to come into contact with anything ignitable, is essential. Any time there is powder flowing in one direction through a plastic vacuum-cleaning hose, it can create a significant static electric charge. In addition, there is the possibility that there may be static electricity buildup on individual dust particles. If a charged, ungrounded hose used to vacuum combustible dust powder were to contact an object that was grounded, the static electricity could then arc and trigger a violent explosion. This is why OSHA has issued numerous
citations for using standard vacuum cleaners where Class II Division 2 equipment is required.


Employing an industrial vacuum cleaner redundantly grounded in five different ways eliminates the possibility of any kind of explosion from the vacuum. The first of the five ways that vacuums should be grounded begins with the air line that supplies the compressed air to the units.

Because most plants have compressed air lines made from iron that conducts electricity, air-operated vacuums use static conductive high-pressure compressed air lines. In addition to the static conductive
air lines, static conductive hoses, filters, and casters further reduce risk. A grounding lug and strap that travels from the vacuum head down to the storage container eliminates the potential for arcing.


When implementing a central vacuum system, NFPA standards call for vacuum cleaners to be fixed pipe suction systems with a remotely located exhauster and dust collector. When flammable gases are present, vacuum cleaners need to be listed for Class I and Class II hazardous locations.


It is best to work with a central vacuum cleaner manufacturer that has extensive experience with combustible dusts and will perform tests on your materials to ensure the system will work as specified.


Portable Combustible Dust Vacuums

For many facilities, central vacuum systems are cost prohibitive; however, there are several portable vacuum cleaners designed for use in Class II Division 2 areas that are excellent solutions to removing
fugitive dust. NFPA 654 allows bulk storage containers to remain inside as long as they are less than 8cubic feet.


The most economical solution for cleaning combustible fugitive dust is with air-operated vacuums. Beyond the fact that air-operated vacuums use no electricity and have no moving parts, air-operated industrial vacuums for combustible dust are safer in terms of grounding. They also work more efficiently in the industrial environment. One thing to look for when choosing a vacuum for  combustible dust is ease of use and sufficient sucking power.


If filters bind, suction diminishes. Some designs require removal of the vacuum head to tap caked material off the filter before the unit will regain suction. If equipment isn't easy to use, operators may not take the task to completion, leaving enough material for a potential dust explosion. Look for units that have pulse jet filter cleaners that with the push of a button releases dust from the filter and cleaning can resume immediately.


In larger facilities, such as feed mills, a breakaway central vacuum system that meets OSHA's requirements for a combustible dust vacuum could reduce costs significantly. Breakaway central vacuum systems are still portable and have collection containers under 8 cubic feet. However, these systems can be hooked up to individual tubing networks around the facility to reach other floors or areas, breaking away from one tubing network, rolling to the next network, and so on.


The 15HP model can move 10,000 pounds of powder in an hour from 30 feet away if needed. The cause for the higher suction is a result of a positive displacement pump (PD pump) vacuum producer. PD pumps are capable of generating high vacuum and excellent airflow, so they have the ability to pull massive amounts of material over distances.


In one application with a breakaway system, the user was able to clean elevator pits, which are confined spaces where dust tends to accumulate because they are out of sight, without having to enter the confined space. Extension wands rated for Class II Division 2 areas eliminated the need for a three-person team to monitor the air.


For cleanup of truly explosive materials, such as gunpowder, rocket propellant, sodium azide, aluminum powder, and others that can explode if collected in dry form, Submerged Recovery Vacuum Cleaners are available and designed specifically to pick up explosive powders safely.
The explosive or hazardous material is submerged under fluid to render it inert. The unique design includes not only a high liquid level safety shut-off, but also a low liquid safety shut-off to prevent vacuum operation if insufficient liquid is in the drum.


Most NFPA guidelines for combustible dust state that a layer of dust the thickness of a paperclip is enough dust to cause a significant secondary explosion. The problem is that it doesn't account for the
different values between different dusts--some are more reactive than others, some are more easily suspended into a cloud, and some may be hazardous at half the thickness of a paperclip.


Regardless of how dust tight a process is, fugitive combustible dust will end up in places that it doesn’t belong. One of the main actions a facility can take to minimize the chance of a catastrophic dust explosion is to follow a regular housekeeping routine that eliminates dust buildup before it becomes a threat.


References

1. http://www.csb.gov/csb-releases-final-investigation-report-on-three-accidents-at-the-hoeganaes-iron-powder-facility-in-gallatin-tennessee/

2. http://www.nfpa.org/newsandpublications/nfpa-journal/2015/march-april-2015/features/dust



About the Author

David Kennedy is the general manager of VAC-U-MAX's
vacuum cleaning division and an expert in vacuum technology with more
than 30 years' experience designing industrial vacuum cleaners. Founded
in 1954, the Belleville, N.J.-based company is a premier manufacturer of
industrial vacuum cleaners for manufacturing and municipal facilities,
government installations and environmental sites. VAC-U-MAX heavy-duty
industrial vacuums improve a facility’s cleanliness, improve working
conditions and safety for employees, reduce downtime of valuable
production equipment, enhance quality control efforts, and recycle
material previously considered as waste. For information, call
1-800-VAC-U-MAX, e-mail info@vac-u-max.com, or visit its website,
www.vac-u-max.com.



Copyright 1996-2013 1105 Media Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 1, 2015

NFPA 652: Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dust is Coming!

From Harrington Group, Inc.



NFPA 652: Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dust is Coming!

Posted on
Thursday, April 30th, 2015 

This summer, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) will issue NFPA 652: Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dust.


Though NFPA had previously developed several standards addressing combustible dust, those standards were more industry or commodity specific and have often contained different, and sometimes conflicting, requirements. NFPA 652 will consolidate the basic requirements among the
existing dust standards and will apply to all industries that are exposed to combustible dust hazards. It will help overcome problems in following the current combustible dust standards by providing guidance to identify and manage fire and explosion hazards caused by combustible dusts. It will also direct users to the combustible dust standards that are specific to their industry or commodity.

The need for NFPA to develop a more consistent combustible dust standard has been a result of a number of incidents that have occurred in an array of industries. According to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), between 2008 and 2012, there have been 29 lives lost and over 160 injuries that stemmed from 50 combustible dust accidents that occurred across the United States. One such incident, the October 2012 combustible dust explosion at US Ink Manufacturing in East Rutherford, New Jersey, resulted in the injury of seven workers. A case study issued by the CSB found that the
design of a newly installed dust collection system in the facility was flawed. CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The findings presented in the CSB report under consideration show that neither U.S. Ink nor its international parent company, Sun Chemical, performed a thorough hazard analysis, study, or testing of the system before it was commissioned in early October 2012. The original design was changed, the original company engineer retired prior to completion of the project, and no testing was done in the days before the operation of the black-ink pre-mixing room production was started up.”

NFPA 652 will help to prevent incidents like this by providing guidance to identify and manage fire and explosion hazards to any industry that handles combustible dust. According to Moure-Eraso, “…National Fire Protection Association codes speak directly to such critical factors as dust containment and collection, hazard analysis, testing, ventilation, air flow, and fire suppression… A national combustible dust standard would include requirements to conform to what are now largely voluntary industry guidelines and would go far in preventing these dust explosions.”

At Harrington Group, we have a personal connection to NFPA 652, as Dale Hansen, one of our firm’s Principals and Senior Fire Protection Engineers, has helped to develop this new combustible dust standard as an active member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fundamentals of Combustible
Dust (CMD-FUN). We are very proud of the work that Dale has contributed towards the development of this standard, as well as of his passion regarding the advancement of combustible dust risk analysis and mitigation.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lakeland inquest fraught with controversy

"Near the end of the day shift on Jan. 19, 2012, a saw on the large headrig Roche operated "deviated" throwing up sparks and lighting the nearby sawdust. That's not unheard of in a sawmill, but this time it also sent a burst of flame high enough to nearly hit the ceiling as it climbed the sawdust floating in the air."


Lakeland inquest fraught with controversy -  from The Working Forest, Your #1 source for forestry and forest industry news, and the Prince George Citizen

By: Prince George Citizen

Set to resume next month, plenty of ground has already been covered over the two-and-a-half weeks the coroner's inquest into the fatal Lakeland Mills sawmill explosion has been held so far.

By the time it was temporarily adjourned on March 26, the inquest had heard from 47 witnesses, beginning with the widows of Al Little and Glenn Roche, who died from the extensive burns they suffered in the April 23, 2012 blast.

Another 22 people were injured, many seriously.

With photos of the two deceased placed next to coroner Lisa Lapointe, testimony followed from employees at the sawmill who either worked alongside Little and Roche or were in the facility on the night in question.

What they had to say made for some gripping accounts and set the scene for a jury who has been asked to make recommendations to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

And no sooner did those employees begin to speak than questions started to be raised, notably about a "near miss" three months before.

Near the end of the day shift on Jan. 19, 2012, a saw on the large headrig Roche operated "deviated" throwing up sparks and lighting the nearby sawdust. That's not unheard of in a sawmill, but this time it also sent a burst of flame high enough to nearly hit the ceiling as it climbed the sawdust floating in the air.

The incident heightened a concern Roche already had about the mill's cleanliness. Lakeland added a third shift midway through 2011 to increase its output of lumber made from beetle-killed pine, which kicked up a particularly fine and dry sawdust.

What's more, in the days following the incident, Little, a supervisor at the sawmill, twice stopped production to have trouble areas cleaned up. Yet an internal report apparently authored by Little on what happened never made it to upper management and the incident was never reported to Prince George Fire Rescue because no one was hurt and there was no structural damage.

But perhaps the comment that most closely drove home the significance of the event came from Paul Orr, WorkSafeBC's lead investigator on the explosion that eventually rocked Lakeland. If not for one missing component in the recipe for an explosion - compression - he said there likely would have been an one on that day rather than three months later.

As it stood, Babine Forest Products near Burns Lake became the first victim of what safety authorities and sawmill operators have claimed throughout the inquest was a new phenomena - a full-on blast fueled by wood dust. Babine was leveled the day after the burst of flame at the Lakeland headrig, killing two employees and injuring 20 others.

That such explosions could occur in more confined spaces like baghouses, where sawdust sucked away through elaborate collection systems would end up, was common knowledge throughout the industry.

But for one to occur in a relatively open facility like the main operating area of a sawmill itself was unprecedented, officials have consistently stressed.

And in the days that followed Babine, there was a reluctance by WorkSafeBC in particular to raise any possibilities about the causes until all the facts were in. Should investigators have at least given a
heads up regarding the possibilities they were considering? (Natural gas and methane were also among the candidates for fuels).

According to conventional wisdom, the inquest heard more than once, it's best to wait rather than lead operators down the wrong path and away from something they may already be doing to address what they may think is the problem.

Yet hunches were already being pursued, at least by one Lakeland employee.

A bit more than two weeks after the blast at Babine, WorkSafeBC received an anonymous phone call in which a concern about the Lakeland's condition was raised along with a concern it could become the "next Babine sawmill."

The call came on a Friday afternoon and on the subsequent Monday morning, two inspectors paid an unannounced visit to the sawmill. Other than perhaps a bit more dust than usual, they did not notice anything but did not give the facility a thorough check.

It just so happened a Lakeland employee took photos that same day of some less easily-reached areas where high levels of dust had piled up and, after the blast, he turned them over to WorkSafeBC investigators. Coroner's counsel John Orr made extensive use of them as he confronted witnesses about the mill's condition.

Arguably, the inspectors' visit amounted to another missed opportunity to alert Lakeland regarding the seriousness of the problem.

But by the same token, management started to take action, the inquest heard, including hiring on more cleanup staff and shopping for an industrial-strength vacuum system to help workers more thoroughly deal with the dust.

Just 11 days before the explosion, representative of a supplier visited Lakeland. He also took photos and they showed some alarming piles, particularly near the area where WorkSafeBC investigators
concluded the explosion originated.

The representative told the inquest he warned Lakeland officials at the time but conversely, they said they never heard any such call for concern. In any case, it did appear Lakeland was ready to buy a system but it was going to take about six weeks to get it delivered and, in the interim, the explosion occurred.

Underlying the whole proceeding has been the question of whether a coroner's inquest is the right venue.

Critics, notably the Opposition New Democrats and the United Steelworkers, have called for a public inquiry, which they say would have the power to find fault, something an inquest does not do.

The provincial government has stood its ground although it compromised somewhat.

Originally, a single inquest was going to be held in Prince George for both the Lakeland and Babine explosions, but after some protest, there will now be a separate inquest for Babine, to start July 13 in
Burns Lake.

Perhaps in answer to the criticism, the tone has often been confrontational with coroner's counsel John Orr in particular quizzing witnesses on apparent inconsistencies in their testimony and other
counsel following suit.

Even the jury members continued the trend to some extent when given their opportunities to ask the witnesses questions.

That apparently has not been good enough for the USW who withdrew its counsel shortly after its Western Canada director, Stephen Hunt, completed his testimony, and issued a statement continuing its call for a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, coroner's counsel John Orr began leaning on Lakeland to release the results of an investigation it had commissioned into the blast.

At the same time, he told the inquest he had also learned that even though it was subject to privilege, Lakeland's counsel had offered to share the information it had gleaned with WorkSafeBC to help with its investigation only to be rebuffed.

After a bit of deliberation, Lakeland counsel Gavin Marshall handed over UBS devices containing material from the investigation and Orr convinced Lapointe to adjourn the proceeding to give him time to review the material.

Orr also said he will be summoning David Anderson, who was the WorkSafeBC president at the time, to answer questions about the decision to turn down Lakeland's offer.

That Anderson was not called in the first place has been an issue for the USW.

There has also been the question of whether an inquest can add anything.

The jury, reduced from seven at the start to five, will be asked to make recommendations on how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

But when given the chance, WorkSafeBC and other officials have emphasized that much has changed and that there is now an industry-wide recognition that wood dust can fuel explosions, not just fires, in sawmills.

Steps have been taken accordingly, they say, to deal with the issue.

Similarly, the jury was shown the many features incorporated into the new Lakeland sawmill to keep such a conflagration from ever happening again.

The inquest was first expected to wrap up by March 20 but that deadline was soon thrown out the window as it quickly became apparent lawyers representing the coroner, USW, WorkSafeBC, Lakeland and, to a lesser extent, the B.C. Safety Authority, were going to take witnesses through extensive questioning.

Just a handful of witnesses are left to testify, but given how long it's taken so there's no telling when the jury will start deliberations.

Either way, both the proceedings and the idea of an inquest itself has generated plenty of controversy.

The inquest resumes on May 11 at the Prince George courthouse.


Prince George Citizen


Additional Resources from Industrial Fire Prevention

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Biomass Conference: All Things Biomass (Power & Thermal, Pellets, Biogas...

The Thrower Extinguisher - an extinguisher which is activated when it is thrown into the flames

MERCOR TECRESA - The Thrower Extinguisher


A Japanese company has developed an extinguisher which is activated when it is thrown into the flames and, as we can see in the video, it extinguish the fire.
 
The container holds a blue liquid which, when released, it is scattered on the fire area releasing the
ammonium that acts as a fire retardant. This mixture all together the carbon dioxide generated by the fire extinguish it.





Monday, April 6, 2015

NFPA Prepares to Issue NFPA 652 Fundamentals of Combustible Dust

From NFPA Journal and NFPA.org - Credible Risk, March April 2015


Wood dust explosion in British Columbia.

PREPARING A NEW NFPA STANDARD requires a mixture of ingredients, some provided by the public and the technical committee, others provided by NFPA staff. The aim is that, in the end, we have developed a meaningful document that benefits the targeted occupancy or addresses a particular hazard. The path to completion can sometimes be unusual, as was the case with the new NFPA 652, Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, which is due to be issued this summer.


To ensure that certain deadlines were met, NFPA’s editorial team resorted to humor to catch my attention. I love soccer, and was fortunate to spend time in Brazil last summer at the FIFA World Cup, where I followed the progress of the U.S. side through the so-called “group of death.” When I returned to work, one of the tasks at the top of my list was to review the edits to the Second Revisions for NFPA 652 prior to balloting the committee. To help put me in the proper frame of mind, a colleague resorted to posting images of Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s star player, around my office, with captions of him pleading “please have NFPA 652 finished.” The tactic worked.


NFPA 652 provides the general requirements for management of combustible dust fire and explosion
hazards, and directs the user to NFPA’s industry or commodity-specific standards, as appropriate: NFPA 61, Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities; NFPA 484, Combustible Metals; NFPA 654, Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids; NFPA 655, Prevention of Sulfur Fires and Explosions; and NFPA 664, Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities.


The new standard establishes the relationship and hierarchy between it and any of the industry or commodity-specific standards, ensuring that fundamental requirements are addressed consistently across the industries, processes, and dust types.






Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed




CSB safety video about a fatal combustible dust explosion at the AL Solutions metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia.Courtesy: USCSB YouTube Channel


That consistency is essential, since dust-related fires and explosions continue to impact a range of industries—and the people who work in them—around the globe. In the U.S. alone, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), 50 combustible dust accidents, resulting in 29 fatalities and 161 injuries, occurred between 2008 and 2012. Those included a 2010 incident at A.L. Solutions in West Virginia, where titanium dust resulted in an explosion and fire that killed three workers; the 2011 incidents at the Hoeganaes metal powder plant in Tennessee, where three combustible metal dust accidents that year killed five workers; and the 2012 flash fire at a U.S. Ink plant in New Jersey that injured seven workers, which a CSB investigation attributed to the accumulation of combustible dust inside a poorly designed dust collection system that had been put into operation just four days before the accident. Last August, aluminum dust was blamed for a catastrophic explosion at an automotive parts factory in Jiangsu, China, that resulted in the deaths of 146 workers and injuries to scores more.
In January, the CSB used the public meeting announcing the completion of its U.S. Ink report to once again highlight the need for a “national general industry combustible dust standard.”



How we got here


While NFPA addressed combustible dust hazards and safeguards for flour and pulverized fuels, such as coal, as far back as 1920, it wasn’t until 2003 that users from all sectors  comprehensively examined the specific requirements contained in the five commodity-specific NFPA standards. Those documents apply broadly to  varied facilities, processes, equipment types, and dust types in order
to protect against the hazards from combustible dust fires and explosions.



A basis for safety embedded in each of those standards requires the fuel—in this case dust—to be managed, ignition sources to be controlled, and impact from an explosion to be limited through construction, isolation, and housekeeping. The CSB highlighted those standards in each of its investigation reports in 2003and in its 2006 combustible dust study. Among its conclusions was that
“incidents would have been prevented or consequences mitigated” if the facilities had complied with the relevant NFPA standards. The CSB also recommended that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) develop a comprehensive federal standard to address the myriad workplace hazards found in facilities where combustible solids are handled, used, or stored in a manner that has the potential to generate and release combustible dusts.






Inferno: Dust Explosion at Imperial Sugar



On February 7, 2008, fourteen workers were fatally burned in a series of sugar dust explosions at the Imperial Sugar plant near Savannah, Georgia. This CSB safety video explains how the accident occurred.Courtesy: USCSB YouTube Channel


That recommendation remained in place
without regulatory action by OSHA until 2008, when a tragic explosion and fire destroyed an Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah, Georgia.
The event claimed 14 lives and injured nearly 40, but it was also instrumental in helping overcome the inertia that had prevented any
movement on a federal combustible dust standard. In March 2008, a revised and more robust national emphasis program for combustible dust was issued by OSHA. It provided guidance for the OSHA compliance teams on how they should inspect facilities where combustible dusts might be present. It incorporated the NFPA commodity-specific standards in two ways: to aid compliance officials in determining where combustible dust hazards might be found, and, where hazards are identified, to serve as a feasible means for abating those hazards. The momentum towards developing a regulation continued in April 2009 with the announcement that OSHA would initiate the rulemaking process in order to develop a
federal standard.



In October 2009, OSHA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, or ANPR. While the ANPR asked a number of questions, several of them specifically sought comment on whether to simply use the existing NFPA standards, either through incorporation by reference or by permitting employers already in compliance with the applicable NFPA standard to be considered as complying with any OSHA regulation that would be developed. The commentary and questions further suggested that, while NFPA publishes several documents enabling unique industry processes and dust types to be addressed individually, the approach may also contribute to confusion and possible inconsistent requirements between standards.





Global Problem timeline

Click to enlarge



In response to this perceived
challenge to the longstanding NFPA combustible dust standards, NFPA staff addressed the question of whether there was a better way to structure the committees and standards. Working through the direction of the NFPA Standards Council, a task group chaired by a member of council explored options for restructuring the combustible dust project. The task group consisted of the chairs of the four existing, commodity-specific standards technical committees, an additional member from each committee, and NFPA staff liaisons. A report was presented to the Standards Council at its March 2011 meeting that contained two key recommendations: the establishment of a correlating committee to oversee the work of the four existing combustible dust committees, as well as the work of a proposed new committee on fundamentals; and the establishment of a new technical committee whose scope would permit it to develop documents on the management of hazards from combustible dusts and combustible particulate solids.



For any NFPA standards activity, the scope frames the work of the committee as it executes its charter, namely the development of one or more documents. With the creation of the correlating committee, an extra layer of oversight was added to the combustible dust document family to be more responsive to the challenges made as part of the OSHA narrative in the ANPR.

According to the scope of the correlating committee, the group was given responsibility “for documents on hazard identification, prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires and explosions … in facilities and systems” involved with “combustible particulate solids, combustible metals, or hybrid mixtures.” While that scope is broad, that of the new technical committee on dust fundamentals is limited to “information and documents on the management of fire and explosion hazards from combustible dusts and particulate solids.”


The committee on fundamentals began its work in earnest in early 2012, using task groups to develop draft chapters based on a straw-man outline proposed by the committee. A preliminary draft was developed and approved by the committee to serve as the basis for requesting approval from the NFPA Standards Council to establish a specific revision cycle. The Council initially approved the
development of NFPA 652 for the Fall 2014 cycle; during the second draft stage of the process, however, the committee requested more time to  review and process the extensive public comments received. That request was approved for the Annual 2015 cycle, which is where the new standard
currently remains.



With the completion of the NFPA 652 Second Draft in May, other combustible-dust standards activities began. Three of the industry or commodity-specific standards entered the Annual 2016 revision cycle and held their First Draft meetings last summer. One of their tasks was to consider the impact of NFPA 652 on their documents. At the same time, the correlating committee met to review and approve the Second Draft of NFPA 652 and the First Drafts for NFPA 61, NFPA 654, and NFPA 664. In the three years since this restructuring process began, the important first steps toward developing consistency within the NFPA combustible dust standards have been taken.


Going forward


The benefits of the formal hierarchy outlined in the new NFPA 652 result when an industry or commodity-specific standard must justify why some “fundamental” provisions in the standard are not applicable to a specific industry. Throughout the standard, requirements are linked to lessons learned or findings reported in investigations by the CSB and elsewhere.


For that reason, hazard awareness appears prominently within the standard through the inclusion of
chapters on hazard identification, hazard analysis or evaluation, and hazard management involving hazard prevention or mitigation. Both the CSB and OSHA raise concerns with the retroactivity statement that generally appears within NFPA documents using approved “boilerplate” language, which states that the provision applies throughout the document to new facilities only unless modified. Using the lessons learned and the agency comments, the committee made some of the requirements in NFPA 652 apply retroactively.






223330 BA_Omaha World _opt


Grain dust was blamed for an explosion at an animal feed facility in Omaha, Nebraska, in January 2014 that killed two and injured 10. Photo: Brynn Anderson; The World Herald


The most controversial provision to be applied retroactively is the dust hazards analysis, or DHA. The standard defines DHA as “a systematic review to identify and evaluate the potential fire, flash fire, or explosion hazards associated with the presence of one or more combustible particulate solids in a process or facility.” For existing facilities, a DHA is permitted to be phased in and completed not later than three years from the effective date of the standard. Because so many of the investigation findings conclude that owners/operators appear to be unaware of the hazards posed by combustible particulate solids that have the potential to form combustible dusts when processed, stored, or handled, the committee believed it was essential to establish the DHA as a fundamental step in creating a plan for safeguarding such facilities.


While these steps and others demonstrate NFPA’s active focus on safeguarding against combustible dust hazards, there has been little progress on the regulatory front. OSHA announced at the end of 2014 that the combustible dust rulemaking was no longer on its list of active regulatory projects, citing other priorities. In an op-ed that appeared in The New York Times in August, Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairman of the CSB, decried the series of laws, executive orders, and judicial barriers that have “virtually paralyzed” the government’s ability to issue new safety standards. “According to a nonpartisan congressional study, the process can take nearly 20 years from start to finish,”  Moure-Eraso wrote. “Given those conditions, is it any wonder that a recent RAND Corporation report found that American workers are three times more likely than their British counterparts to die on the job? ... I believe that OSHA’s leadership wants to move forward with a combustible dust standard just as much as we do. But as its director, David Michaels, recently told NBC News, ‘We have a standards process that is broken.’”


While a comprehensive federal standard for combustible dust no longer seems likely with that announcement, the fire and explosion hazards from combustible dusts continue to exist, and they present a credible risk within facilities across a range of industries. Commenting on the CSB release of its U.S. Ink report, Moure-Eraso said that an OSHA standard “would likely have required compliance with National Fire Protection Association codes that speak directly to such critical factors as dust containment and collection, hazard analysis, testing, ventilation, air flow, and fire suppression.” NFPA believes that its standards continue to address those critical factors.


Perhaps the time is right for OSHA to add NFPA 652 to its national emphasis program, or to take other steps to encourage industries to comply with NFPA standards.


GUY COLONNA is NFPA's division manager of industrial and chemical engineering.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

How to Prevent Combutisble Dust Fires and Explosions

From WoodworkingNetwork.com

How to Prevent Comdust

Combustible Sawdust - How to Protect Your Workers Your Business


Posted: 04/01/2015 4:04PM











EDITOR’S NOTE: This information was presented in the webcast “Combustible Sawdust - How to Protect Your Workers Your Business,” which broadcast in March. Presented by Air Handling’s Jamison Scott, and sponsored by GreCon, the full webcast can be heard on-demand at WoodworkingNetwork.com/webcasts

Combustible dust continues to make headlines. One of the top health and safety issues in the woodworking industry, it impacts companies of
all sizes.


OSHA defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in the air, in certain conditions.” For a combustible dust explosion to occur, five factors must be present: fuel (combustible dust), ignition (heat or spark), oxygen
(air), dispersion (dust suspension) and confinement. 


Removal of any one element will eliminate the possibility of occurrence. But far too often, this is not the case, sometimes with fatal consequences.

While OSHA has been following this issue for approximately 10 years, it recently has begun inspecting and fining companies for improper combustible dust exposure and possible hazards. In doing so, it has been citing the standards put forth by the National Fire Protection
Agency (NFPA).


The NFPA, an International Codes and Standards Organization, creates voluntary consensus standards and provides guidelines for preventing combustible dust explosions. Those most applicable to the woodworking industry include: NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, and the soon-to-be-released NFPA 652: Standard on Combustible Dust.

Prevention Methods
While commonsense, housekeeping is one of the most important things a facility can do to control wood dust buildup. One of the most important things any facility can do is fully engage in housekeeping and fugitive dust control, said Jamison Scott, executive vice president of Air Handling. If the underlying surface colors of a machine, for example, are not readily discernible, there could be a dust deflagration hazard.

However, he cautioned, refrain from blowing the dust off with an air gun. That simply releases and stratifies the dust. Instead, use a vacuum. Then determine the source of escaping dust and repair it. For example, ensure all ductwork is airtight.

In addition to housekeeping, other steps for prevention include: Hazard Recognition/Assessment; Building Design & Engineering Controls; Administrative Controls; and Worker Training. Hazard Recognition/Assessment includes determining if dust is combustible. This can be done via Dust
Explosion Testing, which may include a Particle Size and Moisture Analysis, Explosion Severity Test, which tests the Kst value and Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC). Hazard  Recognition/Assessment also covers issues related to NFPA as well as state and local codes.


Building Design & Engineering Controls cover “fixed structures that are built into a facility or processing equipment designed to remove or minimize a hazard.” Building design focuses on preventing fugitive dust accumulation on beams and other flat surfaces, including rectangular shaped ductwork and flat surfaced lighting fixtures.


Engineering controls focus on the equipment, such as dust collection systems or prevention devises such as spark detection in dust collectors and ductwork, and explosion venting and suppression systems.


Documentation, is one of the most important components of Administrative Controls. Agencies, such as OSHA, require written rules and procedures to ensure policies are fully understood and practiced by employees. In addition, various NFPA Standards have detailed proper methods for operating  procedures, inspections, testing and maintenance procedures as well as training.

Who’s in Charge
The following is a list of some of the agencies and organizations involved in monitoring dust hazards in the woodshop.

OSHA: Since currently there is no specific standard related to Combustible Dust, the General Duty Clause is being cited for these violations, referencing NFPA as a resource. Congress: Tired of waiting for OSHA to create a standard, Congress has begun introducing legislation to regulate combustible dust. The most recent has been H.R. 691, the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust  Explosions and Fires Act of 2013.

NFPA: Creates voluntary consensus standards used by OSHA, AHJ, Business Owner and other related parties.

AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction): This includes the fire marshal, building inspector, or any
other local, state, or federal inspector having jurisdiction over your facility.


Insurance Company: The FM Global data sheet 7-76 Prevention and Mitigation of Combustible Dust lists “Woodworking” as the greatest number of “Losses by Industry” and “Dust Collectors” as highest number of “Losses by Equipment Type.”

Business Owner: Ultimately the owner has the responsibility to protect workers and the business, by using these and any other appropriate and relevant resources.

Employee: Worker training is of utmost importance for safety and the prevention of workplace incidents.





How to Prevent Comdust


Posted:
04/01/2015 4:04PM




 0

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Printer-friendly version of this articlePrinter-friendly version of this article  

EDITOR’S NOTE: This information
was presented in the webcast “Combustible Sawdust - How to Protect Your
Workers & Your Business,” which broadcast in March. Presented by
Air Handling’s Jamison Scott, and sponsored by GreCon, the full webcast
can be heard on-demand at WoodworkingNetwork.com/webcasts.



Combustible
dust continues to make headlines. One of the top health and safety
issues in the woodworking industry, it impacts companies of all sizes.


OSHA defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an
explosion hazard when suspended in the air, in certain conditions.” For a
combustible dust explosion to occur, five factors must be present: fuel
(combustible dust), ignition (heat or spark), oxygen (air), dispersion
(dust suspension) and confinement. Removal of any one element will
eliminate the possibility of occurrence. But far too often, this is not
the case, sometimes with fatal consequences.


While OSHA has been following this issue for approximately 10 years,
it recently has begun inspecting and fining companies for improper
combustible dust exposure and possible hazards. In doing so, it has been
citing the standards put forth by the National Fire Protection Agency
(NFPA).


The NFPA, an International Codes and Standards Organization, creates
voluntary consensus standards and provides guidelines for preventing
combustible dust explosions. Those most applicable to the woodworking
industry include: NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and
Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, and the
soon-to-be-released NFPA 652: Standard on Combustible Dust.


Prevention Methods


While commonsense, housekeeping is one of the most important things a
facility can do to control wood dust buildup. One of the most important
things any facility can do is fully engage in housekeeping and fugitive
dust control, said Jamison Scott, executive vice president of Air
Handling. If the underlying surface colors of a machine, for example,
are not readily discernible, there could be a dust deflagration hazard.


However, he cautioned, refrain from blowing the dust off with an air
gun. That simply releases and stratifies the dust. Instead, use a
vacuum. Then determine the source of escaping dust and repair it. For
example, ensure all ductwork is airtight.


In addition to housekeeping, other steps for prevention include:
Hazard Recognition/Assessment; Building Design & Engineering
Controls; Administrative Controls; and Worker Training.


Hazard Recognition/Assessment includes determining if dust is
combustible. This can be done via Dust Explosion Testing, which may
include a Particle Size and Moisture Analysis, Explosion Severity Test,
which tests the Kst value and Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC).
Hazard Recognition/Assessment also covers issues related to NFPA as well
as state and local codes.


Building Design & Engineering Controls cover “fixed structures
that are built into a facility or processing equipment designed to
remove or minimize a hazard.” Building design focuses on preventing
fugitive dust accumulation on beams and other flat surfaces, including
rectangular shaped ductwork and flat surfaced lighting fixtures.
Engineering controls focus on the equipment, such as dust collection
systems or prevention devises such as spark detection in dust collectors
and ductwork, and explosion venting and suppression systems.


Documentation, is one of the most important components of
Administrative Controls. Agencies, such as OSHA, require written rules
and procedures to ensure policies are fully understood and practiced by
employees. In addition, various NFPA Standards have detailed proper
methods for operating procedures, inspections, testing and maintenance
procedures as well as training.


Who’s in Charge


The following is a list of some of the agencies and organizations involved in monitoring dust hazards in the woodshop.


OSHA: Since currently there is no specific standard
related to Combustible Dust, the General Duty Clause is being cited for
these violations, referencing NFPA as a resource.


Congress: Tired of waiting for OSHA to create a standard, Congress
has begun introducing legislation to regulate combustible dust. The most
recent has been H.R. 691, the Worker Protection Against Combustible
Dust Explosions and Fires Act of 2013.


NFPA: Creates voluntary consensus standards used by OSHA, AHJ, Business Owner and other related parties.


AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction): This includes
the fire marshal, building inspector, or any other local, state, or
federal inspector having jurisdiction over your facility.


Insurance Company: The FM Global data sheet 7-76
Prevention and Mitigation of Combustible Dust lists “Woodworking” as the
greatest number of “Losses by Industry” and “Dust Collectors” as
highest number of “Losses by Equipment Type.”


Business Owner: Ultimately the owner has the
responsibility to protect workers and the business, by using these and
any other appropriate and relevant resources.


Employee: Worker training is of utmost importance for safety and the prevention of workplace incidents.
- See more at:
http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/woodworking-industry-management/woodshop-safety-regulations/How-to-Prevent-Comdust-298367761.html?view=all#sthash.EvkCBJvr.dpuf

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Device Puts Out Fires With Sound Waves

From Industry Tap and George Mason University

Crank It Up! George Mason Students Designed Device That Puts Out Fires With Sound Waves



By: | March 26th, 2015
YouTube/George Mason University
YouTube/George Mason University


George Mason University’s Seth Robertson and Viet Tran have designed a device capable of  extinguishing fires with sound waves!

Who knew cranking up dubstep and waiting for the drop could actually be used for something  helpful?

Using $600 of equipment in total, encompassing amps, a speaker and something thing they call a  collimator, Robertson and Tran discovered sound in the 30 to 60 hertz range seems to vibrate the oxygen away from the fuel, causing the flame to die out.

The two students have already proven many of their peers and professors wrong, and actually already have a preliminary patent for their invention.

Next, is deciding whether or not the idea is scalable and if a full patent is necessary?

I’ll guess we’ll just have to wait and see what these two college students decide…








Friday, March 27, 2015

Grain Dust Flash Fire at Foods Feed Mill

From 5NEWSOnline.com


Three Hospitalized After Flash Fire at OK Foods Feed Mill




IMG950368


LEFLORE COUNTY (KFSM) – Three people are hospitalized with severe
burns Tuesday morning (Mar. 24) after a flash fire at the OK Foods Feed
Mill in LeFlore County.


Two people remain in critical condition at a hosptial in Tulsa. The other worker was transported to Sparks Hospital with minor injuries.


An officer with Heavener Police said the flash fire happened at the mill on Highway 128 around 7:30 p.m. Monday night (Mar. 23). Authorities said it happened on the third floor of the mill, where two contract welders were working.


Authorities said grain dust suddenly caught fire.


Several employees were inside the building at the time of the incident jumping to safety from three stories up, authorities said. Most of them were able to make it outside of the building without any
injuries.


The conditions and the identities of the burn victims are not being released at this time.


OK Foods CEO Trent Goins released the following statement on the incident:


“Three people were injured Monday at our feed mill in Heavener. An arc flash occurred while contract work was being performed on a feed bin. Three contract workers were transported to the local hospital were they remain today. Worker safety is paramount to OK Foods and we will continue to investigate this isolated incident, which did not impact the operation of the feed mill. The feed mill remains open today.”

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Inspector Says Lakeland Lacked Fire Safety Plan | CKPG | TV

From CKPG | TV Online


Inspector Says Lakeland Lacked Fire Safety Plan

140414_lakelandmillsFire inspection reports for the Lakeland Mill were reviewed at an inquest Monday.


A current captain with Prince George Fire Rescue testified regarding a series of inspections at the  Lakeland Mill before the April 2012 explosion. Fire Prevention Officer Captain Steve Feeney told the  inquest Lakeland was typically inspected on a yearly basis.


During an inspection in 2008, fire officials recognized a need for a mill fire safety plan. Feeney  alleged there was no plan in place at the mill during an inspection two years later. He says there was still no plan in inspections that followed.


Other reported issues included emergency exit lighting not being illuminated and an evacuation plan not being posted.


Jurors viewed  a US Chemical Safety Board video, which listed wood products as a potential source of combustible dust explosions.


Feeney says he inspected dust because of its fire risk. When asked if the captain knew dust was an explosion hazard in 2010, Feeney told inquest counsel “no.”


Counsel asked him when he learned of the explosion risk, Feeney replied “after Babine,” referencing the Burns Lake mill explosion in January, 2012.


In April that year, 43 year old Allan Little and 46 year old Glenn Roche died as a result of the  Lakeland explosion.


During a re-inspection at Lakeland a month before its explosion, Feeney said “the dust had been cleaned up. There was very little dust in the mill.”


The fire department doesn’t have the authority to shut down a workplace. Enforcement is carried out by the Office of the Fire Commissioner and Work Safe BC. The only penalty the fire department can
deal is a $150 fine to re-inspect a previous re-inspection.





Monday, March 2, 2015

Progress in controlling wood dust explosions

From the Vancouver Sun

Progress made in controlling wood dust in mills, agency reports

 

Scrutiny continues on industry after deadly wood dust-fuelled explosions in 2012


Smoke rises from the burned out Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake in January 2012.

Smoke rises from the burned out Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake in January 2012.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS



The B.C. sawmill industry is making progress in controlling potentially explosive wood dust, but monitoring will continue, says WorkSafeBC.
 
The chief agency responsible for workplace safety issued only three orders for wood dust problems during the latest inspection period between Oct. 1, 2014 and Jan. 31 that involved 117 sawmills.

The results, however, cannot be compared to those from the four previous inspection rounds when dozen of orders were issued because this time WorkSafeBC gave companies that had a good wood dust safety record the option of conducting their own daily inspection and reporting to WorkSafeBC on a weekly basis.

Of 106 mills who passed previous rounds of inspections, 96 chose to do this.

The other mills opted for WorkSafeBC inspections or third-party inspections.

The orders included one on Nov. 5 against Teal Cedar in Surrey for not developing and implementing a wood-dust  management program, according to inspection reports obtained from WorkSafeBC.

Another order was issued Nov. 25 to Conifex Timber in Fort St. James for wood dust accumulations at the sawmill  chipper determined to be a “high risk” of fire.

The area of the mill was ordered to be shut down while it was cleaned, which took less than two hours.

“We are pleased with what we see, but also still cautious,” said WorkSafeBC vice-president prevention Al Johnson.

He noted that because mills had been given the option of self-inspections, they would need to “validate” progress with another round of WorkSafeBC inspections, likely before the summer.

“But indications are that mills have taken a strong level of ownership to the issue,” said Johnson.

He said he’s hopeful the daily inspections and other measures will become part of the industry’s health-and-safety culture and WorkSafeBC can eventually cease its special attention to wood dust.

The latest inspection results were outlined in an interim report released Wednesday on a plan by former B.C. bureaucrat Gord Macatee to improve investigations to increase chances of court convictions and improve safety at sawmills.

Macatee was appointed by the B.C. Liberal government as a special adviser to WorkSafeBC after investigations failed to result in court charges in two deadly wood dust-fuelled sawmill explosions in 2012. The explosions at Babine Forest  Products near Burns Lake and at Lakeland Mills in Prince George killed four workers and severely injured dozens more.

Macatee said he was pleased 96 mills opted for their own daily inspections. “What I was trying to get to was just because you were lucky enough to not to have a problem the day the inspector happened to be there, you also need to be sure you are good every day,” he said.

Council of Forest Industries president James Gorman said he believes improved dust management at sawmills will be  maintained because mills have embedded dust control into their daily operations and spent millions of dollars upgrading equipment to control dust.

In a previous round of WorkSafeBC inspections, during the winter of 2013, 42 per cent of 144 sawmills inspected  received citations for dust accumulations, ventilation problems, inadequate dust control programs or the use of high-pressure air to move dust.

That same winter, WorkSafeBC issued 13 stop-work orders for levels of wood dust it considered an immediate safety threat.

During the latest round of WorkSafeBC’s inspections of B.C.’s 10 wood pellet plants, four orders were issued including a stop-work order at Okanagan Pellet in West Kelowna on Nov. 18.

ghoekstra@vancouversun.com
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Preventing Dryer System Fires and Explosions

With the addition of layered fire and explosion protection systems, this is an excellent article on dryer system operation and maintenance for prevention of fires and explosions.

From Process Heating and Becky Long, Thompson Dehydrating Co.

How to Prevent Dryer System Fires and Explosions

Knowing what causes fires and explosions is the first step in prevention.

February 13, 2015





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