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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

NFPA Journal - Credible Risk, March April 2015

NFPA Journal - Credible Risk, March April 2015

Author(s): Guy Colonna. Published on March 2, 2015.

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 2003 and 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, Nebrask, 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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Purdue Offers Courses on Dust Explosion Prevention

From Powder/Bulk Solids



Purdue Offers Courses on Dust Explosion Prevention





Purdue University Extension is offering three workshops
this summer on the prevention of grain dust combustion and explosions
for workers at grain handling facilities.




Funded by a grant from the US Department of Labor's Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the sessions will focus on
handling and unloading grain, engineering controls, and industrial
hazards. Participants will also observe a demonstration of a grain dust
explosion. Those who successfully complete the workshops are awarded a
certificate.




"On average, there are 10 grain dust explosions every year in the
United States, causing damage, injury, and death," said Kingsley
Ambrose, assistant professor in Purdue's department of agricultural and
biological engineering. "Our goal is to raise awareness of the perils of
grain dust explosion and reduce this number."




Ambrose is a co-presenter of the workshops with Chad Martin, a
specialist from Purdue Extention. The workshops are intended for
individuals, but customized training sessions through Purdue Extention
are available for large grain handling facilities and businesses.




"Our participants will be able to identify active steps to mitigate
immediate threats, improve their knowledge of dust reduction methods,
and better understand the combustion and explosion potential of dust,"
said Martin.


The workshops take place:



  • June 22, 3-8 pm EDT, Northeast-Purdue Agricultural Center, 4821 E. 400 S, Columbia City, IN

  • June 27, 1-5 pm EDT, Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center, 11371 E. Purdue Farm Road, Dobois, IN

  • Aug. 17, 1-5 pm CDT, Jasper County Fair Fairgrounds, 2671 W. Clark St., Rensselaer, IN
For more information, contact Chad Martin at Martin95@purdue.edu.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

NFPA Combustible Dust Standard Now in Place


US combustible dust standard now in place

31 May 2016

According to OHS Online, the US National Fire Protection Association’s new combustible dust standard, NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, is now in effect. It is the latest in a series of NFPA standards that apply to combustible dusts after 61, 484, 654, 655, and 664, and includes the important new requirement of dust hazard analysis.

 

This was announced at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition (AIHce) 2016 event in Baltimore, OHS Online reported.  Susan Berhad, the NFPA staff liaison for the combustible dust project, made the announcement during a May 25 presentation on the standard at the event.

The 652 standard sets out three fundamental principles: controlling the fuel, controlling the ignition sources, and limiting the spread of any combustion event.

Redesigning facilities is not retroactive under the standard, Berhad said. But management of change, employee training, and housekeeping requirements all do apply retroactively. There are two compliance options, a prescriptive one and a performance-based one. A dust hazard analysis (DHA) is mandatory for existing processes and facilities within three years, she said.

More information...



From Occupational Health & Safety

NFPA Combustible Dust Standard Now in Place

An NFPA staff member provided an update on the new NFPA 652 standard during the AIHce 2016
meeting and said the association is moving toward a single combustible dust standard.

May 30, 2016
BALTIMORE -- The National Fire Protection Association's new combustible dust standard, NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, is now in effect. While it is the latest in a series of NFPA standards that apply to combustible dusts -- 61, 484, 654, 655, and 664 -- this
one, issued in August 2015, includes the important new requirement of dust hazard analysis, Susan Berhad, the association's staff liaison for the combustible dust project, said during a May 25  presentation on the standard at the AIHce 2016 meeting here.

She said 2017 editions of the 61, 652, and 664 standards have recently been issued, and the 652 standard includes a provision that points to the explosion prevention standards -- 67, 68, and 69. The 652 standard sets out three fundamental principles, which are controlling the fuel, controlling the ignition sources, and limiting the spread of any combustion event, she explained.


Redesigning facilities is not retroactive under the standard, Berhad said. But management of change, employee training, and housekeeping requirements all do apply retroactively. There are two compliance options, a prescriptive one and a performance-based one. A dust hazard analysis (DHA) is mandatory for existing processes and facilities within three years, she said, adding that there should be documentation for each of these required elements: responsible party, due date, tracking of redesign activities, date action items are closed out, how they were closed out, and recommendations rejected for cause (if any) and why they were rejected. "You keep your documentation for the life of the process -- you should do it," she added.


Common techniques that are useful in the DHA process include HAZOP (Hazard Operability Analysis), checklist analysis, what if/checklist analysis, FMEA (Failure Mode Effects Analysis), and layers of protection analysis.


And, while the 654 standard requires revalidation of a DHA every five years, that probably will be added to the other standards, including 652, for consistency, Berhad said.


Berhad said in the long term, NFPA envisions a single combustible dust standard. "The short answer is yes, someday. . . . It's going to take some time," she said.
 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Enclosureless Dust Collectors Risk and Requirements

From Fauske.com


NFPA 652 Combustible Dust Hazard Risk and Requirements For Enclosureless Dust Collectors

Posted by

AnnMarie Fauske on
Tue, May 24, 2016 @11:32 AM

by Ronald L. Allen, MS, PE, CSP, Senior Consulting Engineer, Fauske & Associates, LLC


Requirements, Risks and Incidents Associated With NFPA 652 Direction to Control Combustiblle Dust Hazards. Not all Enclosureless Dust Collectors (EDCs) are intended for combustible dust.

NFPA 652 – 2016, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, defines an enclosureless dust collector (EDC) as, “An air-material  separator (AMS) designed to separate the conveying air from the material being conveyed where the filter medium is not enclosed or in a  container”. Commodity-specific NFPA standards offer more detailed  definitions. EDCs may also be known as Positive Pressure Open Dust Collectors.

Enclosureless dust collectors (EDCs) are commonly used in the  woodworking industry and home woodworking shops. They are also present in other varied industries and applications – whether or not such applications are permitted by NFPA standards.

EDCs are available from a breadth of manufacturers. Designs vary considerably – from very simple to complex. Units are available with single or multiple filters (“bags”). Typically, EDCs are less expensive to purchase than traditional cartridge or baghouse style dust collectors. Not all EDCs are intended for combustible dust service. The sketch depicts a multiple filter EDC.


20160513-3RA-0210.png


Deflagration Risks Associated with Enclosureless Dust Collectors


Some risks from traditional explosions are reduced with compliant
EDCs since creation of projectiles would be limited given the fabric
filter bags used in construction.  Yet, deflagration and flash fires
risks remain as discussed below.



  1. Low strength enclosures (i.e., filter bags) may be ruptured or
    burned by a deflagration. In such case, the resultant fireball could
    spread in an uncontrolled fashion in all directions.
  2. Filter bags may be combustible
  3. Improper application of EDCs (e.g., collection of combustible metal
    dust; utilization of units intended for non-combustible dust)
  4. Assumed presence of oxygen, fuel, confinement, and dispersion – only ignition is missing to potentially create a deflagration
  5. Inability to provide explosion venting
  6. Infeasible to locate outdoors without shelter
  7. Limited ability to provide suppression or isolation
  8. Filter bag breakage could release a dust cloud exceeding MEC. Such releases could find a viable ignition source.
  9. Recirculation of air from EDCs into the workplace can add fugitive dust to the environment
  10. Fans may be located in the dirty air stream where ignition could be created from frictional heating
  11. Removal of dust from filter bags can create uncontrolled dust clouds

NFPA Requirements for Indoor Use of Enclosureless Dust Collectors

Because of this blog’s space constraints, discussion is limited to indoor, prescriptive requirements for utilization of EDCs[1].
 

NFPA 652 does not permit EDCs to be located indoors unless the appropriate industry or commodity-specific standards allow such installations. 

Only NFPA 664 - 2012, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, and NFPA 654 - 2013, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids, allow indoor use of the EDCs. Indoor use of EDCs is not permitted by inference when collecting combustible agricultural dust since they are not referenced in NFPA 61 - 2013, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities (Note: performance based design option could be used to justify use of EDCs for some agricultural dusts). NFPA 484-2015, Standard for Combustible Metals) specifically bans the use of EDCs under any circumstances (indoors or outdoors).

NFPA 664 states that explosion protection and isolation requirements do not apply to compliant EDCs and that compliant EDCs are permitted to exhaust into the buildings.

NFPA 654 warns that EDCs are not meant for use with most dusts created during the venting of process equipment or other aerated dust sources. The Standard indicates that fine dust will rapidly blind the filter, which results in reduced performance and a significant increase in deflagration hazards associated with the system operation and performance.

Requirements for indoor usage of EDCs vary somewhat between NFPA 654 and NFPA 664. Common and unique requirements appear below:

  1. Common Requirements

    1. The filter medium is not shaken or pressure-pulsed to dislodge dust during operation[2]
    2. The collector is located at least 6.1 m (20 ft.) from any means of egress or area routinely occupied by personnel
    3. The collected dust is removed daily or more frequently if necessary to ensure efficient operation[3]
    4. Multiple collectors in the same room are separated from each other by at least 6.1 m (20 ft.)[4]
  2.  NFPA 664 Requirements

    1. The collector is used only for dust pickup from wood processing machinery (i.e., no metal grinders and so forth)
    2. The collector is not used on sanders, molders, or abrasive planers having mechanical material feeds through the machine
    3. Each collector has a maximum air-handling capacity of 2.4 m3/sec (5000 cfm)
    4. The fan motor is of a totally enclosed, fan-cooled design
    5. The collected dust is removed daily or more frequently if necessary to ensure efficient operation
    6. The filter media are not enclosed or in a container
    7. The filter media are not under positive pressure
    8. Removal of the collected dust is not continuous or mechanical
      (intended to effectively limit the size of the collector because,
      without continuous or mechanical removal of collected dust, it is not
      practical to manually remove the dust on the larger systems).
    9. Fans and blowers be located upstream of EDCs regardless of the moisture content or particle size of the material conveyed
While automatic sprinkler protection is not required in EDCs, NFPA 664 recommends protecting EDCs with either an automatic sprinkler located above the unit or a spark detection and extinguishing system in the main duct, upstream of the unit.

        C. NFPA 654 Requirements

    1. The AMS is not used to vent or serve metal grinders, hot work processes, or machinery that can produce sparks
    2. The AMS is not used to vent or serve sanders, abrasive planers, or similar sanding process equipment
    3. Each collector system has a maximum airflow– handling capacity of 3000 cfm (1.4 m3/sec).
      (Interpretation: Many of the enclosureless dust collectors are
      manifolded into multiple bags with containers. The 3000 cfm limit refers
      to the overall airflow through the assembly and not just to a single
      bag with collected material container).
    4. The fan motor is suitable for Class II, Division 2, or Class III, as appropriate
    5. The minimum ignition energy (MIE) of the collected materials is
      greater than 500 mJ. (Interpretation: MIE is determined by testing the
      material as received with respect to particle size).
    6. The fan construction is spark resistant and meets the criteria in 7.12.2.5
    7. The filter medium is not located within 35 ft. (10.7 m) of any open
      flame or hot surface capable of igniting a dust cloud of the material it
      contains
Incidents Involving Enclosureless Dust Collectors

Deflagrations involving EDCs have been reported, but broad-based data is not readily available.  Readers of this blog are encouraged to share their experiences. For more information on this and other Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA), contact Ron Allen at Allen@fauske.com,  608-698-6105 or 630-323-8750. www.fauske.com

[1] NFPA 664 allows for indoor locations of EDCs but highly recommends outdoor locations. NFPA 664 advises against locating dust collectors on the roofs of buildings.

[2] NFPA 664 permits shaking or pressure-pulsing if the fan is off.

[3] NFPA 654 interpretation: Dust must be removed daily and is limited a maximum of 22 lbs. (10 kg) per day.

[4]
NFPA 654 interpretation: Enclosureless dust collectors are often
manifolded into multiple bags (with collected material containers). Each
such manifolded assembly must be separated by the required 20 ft. or
6.1 m.)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Prison Time for Former CEO’s Role in 2010 Mine Explosion

From Powder/Bulk Solids

Prison Time for Former CEO’s Role in 2010 Mine Explosion

April 7, 2016



A former CEO of Massey Energy was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday at the US District Court in Charleston, WV for a conspiracy to falsify dust samples in the wake of what is said to be the
the deadliest American coal mine explosion in decades.

Don Blankenship, who headed the company until 2010, will spend one year in prison and faces fines of $250,000 following his conviction in December on a misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate federal mine safety laws.

In April 2010, 29 miners died in Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV after a coal dust explosion. Investigators determined that faulty cutting equipment ignited a build-up of coal dust and methane gas, according to an Associated Press report.

Responding in a statement to Blankenship’s sentence, US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said that the punishment may offer some condolences to the families of the late miners, while sending a message to the coal industry.

“This sentence proves that no mine operator is above the law, and should send a strong signal to unscrupulous employers that skirt safety rules. No prison sentence and no amount of money can bring back the 29 men who lost their lives at Upper Big Branch, but my sincere hope is that this sentence can offer some measure of closure for the families of those miners,” said Secretary Perez.

The secretary of labor opined that more stringent laws are needed to prevent similar accidents in the future.

“That said this is a clear case of the punishment not fitting the crime. This sentence is the maximum allowable under the law, but regrettably, the criminal provisions of the Mine Act are far too weak to
truly hold accountable those who put miners’ lives at risk,” Secretary Perez said. “This administration continues to support efforts in Congress to strengthen those penalties, and we stand ready to work with members who believe that no worker should lose their life for a paycheck.”

Massey Energy was acquired by Bristol, VA-based Alpha Natural Resources in June 2011.


Get more information or register for the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference & Exhibition, May 3-5, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quesnel mill explosion could have been deadly - British Columbia

From British Columbia - CBC News

Quesnel mill explosion could have been deadly

Dust may be factor in explosion and fire


By Betsy Trumpener, CBC News
Posted: Mar 10, 2016 4:48 PM PT
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2016 5:01 PM PT

Safety officials say a fire and explosion at West Fraser's WestPine MDF plant, Wednesday, could have been catastrophic.
Safety officials say a fire and explosion at West Fraser's WestPine MDF plant, Wednesday, could have been catastrophic. (Erika Steinson/Facebook)
A fire and explosion Wednesday at a Quesnel mill could have been catastrophic and deadly, says Al Johnson, Vice President of Prevention Field Services for WorkSafeBC.

Thirty workers inside West Fraser's WestPine MDF plant were evacuated safely.
It took crews almost five hours to put out the fire.

Potential for serious injuries, death

"There was the potential here for being catastrophic," said Johnson. "We're very fortunate there were no injuries. There was a potential for workers to be seriously injured or worse."

A critical incident response team was sent to Quesnel to offer emotional support.

"[The explosion] will resonate with people and possibly bring back memories of explosions in mills that have occurred in the past," said Johnson.

2012 mill explosions killed 4, injured 43 

Four B.C. mill workers were killed and 43 others seriously injured in 2012 after sawmill explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George just three months apart.

Investigators determined wood dust was to blame for the tragedies.

Johnson says wood dust could also be a factor in the most recent incident in Quesnel.

'Wood dust present'

There is wood dust present, so there may be an association. We haven't drawn any conclusions. - WorkSafeBC Vice President Al Johnson
"It's too early to say at this point, but obviously there's indicators this explosion and fire occurred in the fiber bin area.

It has four dust collection towers where there is wood dust present, so there may be an association," said Johnson. "But we haven't drawn any conclusions at this point."

Johnson says it's important to note the 2012 explosions occurred in sawmills, while the Quesnel mill produces medium density fibreboard.

"This mill has wood dust and wood fibres, like the sawmills. But it also uses high temperatures, high pressure chemicals."

"Without question, it was a major explosion and fire," said Quesnel mayor Bob Simpson who has worked in mill management.

Johnson says WorkSafe's investigation to determine what happened could take months.

Damage closes mill

In the meantime, West Fraser says the Quesnel mill will be closed until the damage to the WestPine MDF plant is fixed.

"The facility will not be operational for a period of time," said Tara Knight, a spokeswoman for West Fraser.

"Our employees remain employed and are needed to return the mill to operation. 


Betsy Trumpener is an award-winning journalist and author. She's been covering the news in central and northern British Columbia for more than 15 years.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

NFPA Hazard Rating System

NFPA Hazard Rating System from Northeastern University

NFPA Hazard Rating System

Northeastern University's laboratory doors are posted with emergency information to warn occupants
and The Boston Fire Department personnel of the presence and identification of hazardous materials inside each laboratory. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a system for
indicating the health, flammability, reactivity and special hazards for many common chemicals through use of the NFPA 704 Diamond. The hazard rating for the laboratory is determined by looking at all the chemicals, gases and special lab uses in the laboratory and coming up with a rating for each hazard category based on criteria established below.

Please read the rating information in each category, take an inventory of your laboratory and rate each category accordingly. To look up a rating for a particular chemical click on the link at the bottom
of the page. If you do not find the chemical listed, a review of the chemicals MSDS sheet may help you rate the chemical in question. To look up a chemicals MSDS click on the "MSDS" link at the bottom of the page.

If there are any questions regarding a chemical rating, please either email your question or call the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at x2769.

If you have a new laboratory or are a new Principal Investigator, please contact EHS: ehs@neu.edu

Rating Summary

Health

Use the most severe rating code regardless of volume.

Health (Blue) Detailed Description of Health Rating

4 Danger May be fatal on short exposure. Specialized protective equipment
required
3 Warning Corrosive or toxic. Avoid skin contact or inhalation
2 Warning May be harmful if inhaled or absorbed
1 Caution May be irritating
0

No unusual hazard

Flammability

The greatest volume of one code determines the marking. The only exception is if a more severe code has a volume of 3 gallons or greater, then that code is used instead of a lower code of greater volume. If the laboratory total volume of flammables or combustibles is less than one pint for all, then the rating for the laboratory for this area shall be zero


Flammability (Red)Detailed
Description of Flammable Rating


4 Danger Flammable gas or extremely flammable liquid
3 Warning Flammable liquid flash point below 100°F
2 Caution Combustible liquid flash point of 100° to 200°F
1

Combustible if heated
0

Not combustible

Reactivity

Use the most severe rating code regardless of volume.

Reactivity (Yellow) Detailed
Description of Reactivity Rating


4 Danger Explosive material at room temperature
3 Danger May be explosive if shocked, heated under confinement or mixed
with water
2 Warning Unstable or may react violently if mixed with water
1 Caution May react if heated or mixed with water but not violently
0 Stable Not reactive when mixed with water

Special Information

Indicate the presence of the following regardless
of volume


Special Information Key
(White)
Detailed Description of Special Information Rating

Oxy Oxidizing Agent
W Water Reactive
G Compressed Gas
LN2 Liquid Nitrogen
LHE Liquid Helium

Special Signage Key (These are signs that
shall or must be posted in addition to the NFPA diamond)

LAS Laser
BL Biosafety Level
RAD Radioactive Material
X-Ray X-Ray Diffractometer
MAG Magnetic Fields
HVO High Voltage
NFPA Hazard Rating A - C
NFPA Hazard Rating D - I
NFPA Hazard Rating J - R
NFPA Hazard Rating S - Z
NFPA Rating Gases
NFPA Rating Rating - Text Version
Material Safety Data Sheets


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

LED technology reduces explosion risks

From ISHN Industrial Safety & Hygiene News

LED technology reduces explosion risks
The complex and hazardous nature of confined spaces
present numerous risks for workers. Because of this, many businesses that
operate in hazardous locations make use of explosion proof lights to prevent
the ignition of flammable gases and dust particles. This article discusses how
LED technology has contributed to the features of explosion proof lights by
making them more reliable, sturdy and cost-effective.


Click here for complete story

Industrial Ventilation Resources

Free IV/LEV resource

If you are looking for information on or specialize in Industrial Ventilation (Known as LEV in the UK) then you may be interested to know that there is a free to use resource www.levcentral.com

There is a growing library of resources, details of professional development, forum and suppliers directory. We hope you will find it a valuable resource.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

What is Industrial Safety?

Definition from Safeopedia

Definition - What does Industrial Safety mean?

Industrial safety in the context of occupational safety and health refers to the management of all operations and events within an industry, for protecting its employees and assets by minimizing hazards, risks, accidents and near misses. The relevant laws, compliance and best practices in the industry have most of the issues addressed for the best protection possible. Employers are to make sure that these are strictly adhered to to have maximum safety.

Safeopedia explains Industrial Safety

Industrial safety covers a number of issues and topics affecting safety of personnel and equipment in a particular industry. The following topics are generally discussed:
  • General Safety - General aspects of safety which are common to all
  • Occupational Safety and Health - Particularly associated with the occupation
  • Process and Production Safety - Safety in the process and production etc.
  • Material Safety - Safety of the materials used in the production
  • Workplace Safety - Safety issues directly related to the workplace
  • Fire Safety - Fire safety, in particular the risks associated to the industry
  • Electrical Safety - In general and in particular, arising from the equipment used
  • Building and Structural Safety - Safety in general including installations as per existing building code
  • Environmental Safety - Issues of environmental safety (direct or indirect impact of the industry)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sawmills improve on wood dust problems

From the Vancouver Sun

Sawmills improve on wood dust problems

Three years after deadly explosions, industry still working to keep employees safe

Sawmills improve on wood dust problems

The Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George burned to the ground after a huge explosion in April, 2012.

 

Forest companies appear to have controlled wood dust in their sawmills and pellet plants following deadly explosions in 2012, but WorkSafeBC continues to keep the pressure on to ensure safety.

The province’s chief workplace safety agency began a series of inspections targeting wood dust beginning in 2012 after two explosions at sawmills in northern B.C. that killed four workers and injured dozens of others.

The sixth and latest round of inspections — this one of more than 100 sawmills and more than a dozen pellet plants last year — showed that none were cited for having accumulations of dust considered a risk of fire or explosion, according to more than 1,000 pages of inspection documents obtained by The Vancouver Sun through a freedom of information request.

Previous inspections, including in 2013 and 2014, found dozens of mills had unacceptable wood dust levels.

Despite finding no wood-dust levels considered a risk for explosion in 2015, WorkSafeBC issued six orders calling for improvements to dust-control programs where they believed plants were not being cleaned well enough.

B.C.-based lumber-giant Canfor was issued three such orders at its sawmills in Fort St. John, Vanderhoof and Prince George.

Carrier Lumber in Prince George, Flavelle Sawmill in Port Moody, and Long Hoh Enterprises in Qualicum Beach were also issued similar orders.

Joe Kozek Mills in Revelstoke was issued an order for using pressurized air to clean up dust (considered unsafe because it creates clouds of fine dust) and Teal Cedar in Surrey was cited for not being able to provide information on the design of ventilation equipment used to control dust.

Canfor and Long Hoh Enterprises were issued warning letters and Carrier Lumber was fined $30,000.

Canfor is appealing its orders, and Carrier Lumber is appealing the fine.

“We have communicated to WorkSafe why we feel the orders were not justified and provided documentation to support that,” Canfor spokeswoman Corrine Stavness said in a written statement.

“I think the bigger story here is that the industry and WorkSafe have made a tremendous amount of
progress on managing combustible dust.”

Carrier Lumber president Bill Kordyban said he also thought that significant progress was being made.

“We take it very, very seriously,” said Kordyban, noting the company has added a position dedicated to overseeing wood dust control.

The two mills that exploded in 2012 and since rebuilt with dust control in mind — Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills — passed inspections.

WorkSafeBC also found no wood dust issues in inspections at major companies West Fraser, Tolko, Western Forest and Interfor.

Ken Higginbotham, a spokesman for a group of 10 major lumber producers, said audits are used to ensure dust control is being managed properly.

In addition to implementing housekeeping procedures to control dust, companies have spent significant money on dust-control equipment upgrades including new ventilation systems.

West Fraser said it has spent about $50 million. Canfor said it has spent about the same.

“Out of the terrible nature of those two incidents I think there’s a much greater focus on maintaining the dust management, but at the same time looking at safeguarding,” says Higginbotham, a former Canfor executive.

WorkSafeBC vice-president for prevention services Al Johnson agreed there has been significant progress in addressing combustible dust in sawmills, but said where the regulator sees gaps or deficiencies in dust control they order them to be fixed.

    Sawmills improve on wood dust problems

    From The Vancouver Sun

    Sawmills improve on wood dust problems

    Three years after deadly explosions, industry still working to keep employees safe

    Sawmills improve on wood dust problems
    The Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George burned to the ground after a huge explosion in April, 2012.

    Forest companies appear to have controlled wood dust in their sawmills and pellet plants following deadly explosions in 2012, but WorkSafeBC continues to keep the pressure on to ensure safety.

    The province’s chief workplace safety agency began a series of inspections targeting wood dust beginning in 2012 after two explosions at sawmills in northern B.C. that killed four workers and injured dozens of others.

    The sixth and latest round of inspections — this one of more than 100 sawmills and more than a dozen pellet plants last year — showed that none were cited for having accumulations of dust considered a risk of fire or explosion, according to more than 1,000 pages of inspection documents obtained by The Vancouver Sun through a freedom of information request.

    Previous inspections, including in 2013 and 2014, found dozens of mills had unacceptable wood dust levels.

    Despite finding no wood-dust levels considered a risk for explosion in 2015, WorkSafeBC issued six orders calling for improvements to dust-control programs where they believed plants were not being cleaned well enough.

    B.C.-based lumber-giant Canfor was issued three such orders at its sawmills in Fort St. John, Vanderhoof and Prince George.

    Carrier Lumber in Prince George, Flavelle Sawmill in Port Moody, and Long Hoh Enterprises in Qualicum Beach were also issued similar orders.

    Joe Kozek Mills in Revelstoke was issued an order for using pressurized air to clean up dust (considered unsafe because it creates clouds of fine dust) and Teal Cedar in Surrey was cited for not being able to provide information on the design of ventilation equipment used to control dust.

    Canfor and Long Hoh Enterprises were issued warning letters and Carrier Lumber was fined $30,000.

    Canfor is appealing its orders, and Carrier Lumber is appealing the fine.

    “We have communicated to WorkSafe why we feel the orders were not justified and provided documentation to support that,” Canfor spokeswoman Corrine Stavness said in a written statement.

    “I think the bigger story here is that the industry and WorkSafe have made a tremendous amount of
    progress on managing combustible dust.”

    Carrier Lumber president Bill Kordyban said he also thought that significant progress was being made.

    “We take it very, very seriously,” said Kordyban, noting the company has added a position dedicated to overseeing wood dust control.

    The two mills that exploded in 2012 and since rebuilt with dust control in mind — Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills — passed inspections.

    WorkSafeBC also found no wood dust issues in inspections at major companies West Fraser, Tolko, Western Forest and Interfor.

    Ken Higginbotham, a spokesman for a group of 10 major lumber producers, said audits are used to ensure dust control is being managed properly.

    In addition to implementing housekeeping procedures to control dust, companies have spent significant money on dust-control equipment upgrades including new ventilation systems.

    West Fraser said it has spent about $50 million. Canfor said it has spent about the same.

    “Out of the terrible nature of those two incidents I think there’s a much greater focus on maintaining the dust management, but at the same time looking at safeguarding,” says Higginbotham, a former Canfor executive.

    WorkSafeBC vice-president for prevention services Al Johnson agreed there has been significant progress in addressing combustible dust in sawmills, but said where the regulator sees gaps or deficiencies in dust control they order them to be fixed.
    He said they were particularly concerned that Canfor, a major player in the forest industry in B.C., was having trouble delivering on their dust control plans.

    They brought company executives into a meeting to reiterate the importance of maintaining dust control, he said.

    Johnson said he was aware that Canfor was appealing the orders, noting they had the right to do so. “Combustible dust is a high-risk situation,” said Johnson. “Any health and safety program that addresses combustible dust or respiratory protection or asbestos or whatever the issue may be,
    needs constant vigilance and constant oversight.”

    Johnson said they will transition away from inspection sweeps targeted specifically at wood dust control in 2016, making wood dust monitoring part of routine inspections.

    However, he said mills that were handed orders would likely be inspected by officers specializing in wood dust control at least once more.

    Okanagan Pellet in West Kelowna and Diacarbon Energy in Merritt were cited for using pressurized air to clean dust.

    Rogers Environmental Pellet in Fort St. John was cited for an inadequate dust control program, similar to the orders issued to the sawmills.

    After a poor showing in inspections in 2014, companies have stepped up with a major effort to tackle dust, said Canadian Pellet Association president Gordon Murray.

    They struck a combustible dust committee among plants in B.C., implemented audits, housekeeping procedures and equipment upgrades, said Murray.

    “We work in a hazardous industry and need to be really vigilant,” he said.


    ghoekstra@vancouversun.com

    Monday, February 8, 2016

    Resolute fined after worker burned in dust explosion on wood biomass boiler | Woodworking Network

    From Woodworking Network

    Resolute fined after worker burned in dust explosion on wood biomass boiler







    FORT FRANCES, Ontario
    - Lumber firm Resolute Forest Products Canada Inc., owner of an idled paper mill, pleaded guilty and has been fined $150,000 after a worker was burned following an explosion of wood dust.

    The Ontario Ministry of Labour says the paper mill was idled in 2014 but its bio mass boiler was still in operation to provide heat for the mill through the winter. It was expected that the boiler would be idled after the winter when heating was no longer required.

    The boiler was capable of running on either natural gas or bio mass.
    In 2008 an engineering assessment of the conveyor system for the boiler concluded that the system did not present a dust explosion hazard, owing to the particle size and moisture content of the fuel being used as bio mass.

    In the days before the incident, workers had been doing a cleanup of the plant in anticipation of its closure. Up to 15 wheelbarrow loads of fine, dry wood dust that had been swept up from around the plant were dumped into the conveyor system. At that time, the boiler was running on natural gas.

    On February 27, 2014, it was Resolute's intention to switch the boiler over to bio mass to burn off remaining fuel stock. On that day, a maintenance worker was checking on a plug-up of material in one of the conveyors and was near the operating controls at the head of the conveyor. The worker had cleared the plug-up and was looking into the conveyor to check whether it was going to plug up again.

    As the dry wood dust that had been dumped into the conveyor was travelling on the conveyor, it was ignited by an undetermined source and a dust explosion occurred. A fireball travelled through the conveyor and out the end where the worker was standing. The worker received burns to the body.

    Because the boiler system had not been designed to burn only fine, dry wood dust, but rather fuel with a certain moisture content and particle size, the protective measures of Section 63 of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments dealing with explosive hazards were not in place. That section regulates processes that could create an explosive mixture with air in industrial workplaces.

    The company was fined $150,000 in Fort Frances court by Justice of the Peace Ron Beck on January 29, 2016.


    Friday, January 29, 2016

    U.S. Chemical Safety Board

    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
    U.S. Chemical Safety Board Releases New Safety Video, "Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” Detailing Report Findings and Recommendations on 2013 Fatal West Fertilizer Company Explosion and Fire


    January 29, 2016, Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a safety video into the fatal April 17, 2013, fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, which resulted in 15 fatalities, more than 260 injuries, and widespread community damage. The deadly fire and explosion occurred when about thirty tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) exploded after being heated by a fire at the storage and distribution facility.


    The CSB’s newly released 12-minute safety video entitled, “Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” includes a 3D animation of the fire and explosion as well as interviews with CSB investigators and Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland. The video can be viewed on the CSB’s website and YouTube.



    Chairperson Sutherland said, “This tragic accident should not have happened. We hope that this video, by sharing lessons learned from our West Fertilizer Company investigation, will help raise awareness of the hazards of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate so that a similar accident can be avoided in the future.”



    The CSB’s investigation found that several factors contributed to the severity of the explosion, including poor hazard awareness and fact that nearby homes and business were built in close proximity to the West Fertilizer Company over the years prior to the accident. The video explains that there was a stockpile of 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate
    stored at the facility in plywood bins on the night of the explosion. And although FGAN is stable under normal conditions, it can violently detonate when exposed to contaminants in a fire.



    In the video, Team Lead Johnnie Banks says, “We found that as the city of West crept closer and closer to the facility, the surrounding community was not made aware of the serious explosion hazard in their midst. And the West Fertilizer Company underestimated the danger of storing fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate in ordinary combustible structures.”



    The CSB investigation concludes that this lack of awareness was due to several factors, including gaps in federal regulatory coverage of ammonium nitrate storage facilities. The video details safety recommendations made to OSHA and the EPA to strengthen their regulations to protect the public from hazards posed by FGAN.



    Finally, the video explains how inadequate emergency planning contributed to the tragic accident. The CSB found that the West Volunteer Fire Department was not required to perform pre-incident planning for an ammonium nitrate-related emergency, nor were the volunteer firefighters required to attend training on responding to fires involving hazardous chemicals. As a result, the CSB made several safety recommendations to various stakeholders, including the EPA, to
    better inform and train emergency responders on the hazards of FGAN and other hazardous chemicals.



    Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “The CSB’s goal is to ensure that no one else be killed or injured due to a lack of awareness of hazardous chemicals in their communities. If adopted, the Board’s recommendations can help prevent disasters like the one in West, Texas.”



    The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious 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 makes safety  recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, www.csb.gov.



    For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at public@csb.gov or by phone at 202.446.8095.


     
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    CSB 

    2175 K. Street, NW | Washington, DC 20037-1809 

    Phone: (202) 261-7600 | Fax: (202) 261-7650 | www.csb.gov