Thursday, January 28, 2010

An explosive issue | Industrial Fuels and Power

Here is a great article from Industrial Fuels and Power Magazine, explaining fire and explosion risks in coal fired power plants, but relevant to all industrial processing plants with combustible dust.  Topics include Understanding, Measuring and Reducing Risk.  Utilizing Technology to help Mitigate. Understanding Layers of Protection. Successful Combustible Dust Risk Management.  A good read...

An explosive issue | Industrial Fuels and Power
Geof Brazier and Mitch Rooker, members of the US-based NFPA committee on explosion venting and protection systems discuss coal dust explosion risks in power plants.

In February 2009, a silo at a coal-fired power plant exploded, severely injuring six workers and resulting in US$300,000 in fines. This recent power plant explosion, located in the Midwest United States, serves as another dangerous reminder of the risks faced by power plants that handle combustible coal dust.
Coal handling, processing and storage systems can produce hazardous conditions with the potential to produce a dust explosion. Explosions occur as a result of ignition of a combustible material (dust, gas, or vapour) when mixed with oxygen, typically that which is present in the air. When this takes place inside a confined enclosure, such as a dust collector or a conveyor gallery at a power plant, a rapid pressure rise is developed in addition to the expected flame of combustion. This pressure could develop to over 100psig in a fraction of a second if the dust explosion is not mitigated in some way, exerting destructive forces within a few milliseconds that will place both personnel and equipment at risk. Examples of potential ignition sources within the coal systems of a power plant are:
• tramp metal producing sparks within milling, grinding and conveying systems
• pyrites producing impact sparks
• static electricity
• hot surfaces
• smouldering fire nests which can self-ignite at relatively low temperatures, as low as 160°C, compared to a dust cloud self ignition temperature as low as 440°C
• easily ignited pockets of “coal gas” that can generate a secondary dust explosion.
In this recent example of a combustible dust explosion within a power plant, the event occurred at a silo used to collect fugitive before the dust is then used as fuel. Contract workers were onsite setting up scaffolding on the outside of the silo when the explosion occurred. Flames, embers and dust rained down on the workers causing severe burns which required hospitalisation.

Read more at:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Cost of Safety

What is The Cost of Safety?

Here is a link to a web page by Harsco, with a safety training video that everyone should see, no matter what their position or industry.

They claim 85% of accidents can be prevented by the person who was injured!

Go to this web page and find the link that says: Click here to view the video.

Friday, January 15, 2010

OSHA focuses on combustible dust hazards at Georgia sites

Got combustible dust?  We can help!

Her is more information about what is going on here locally. From the Reliable Plant blog:

OSHA focuses on combustible dust hazards at Georgia sites
The visits are part of the agency's ongoing National Emphasis Program (NEP) to reduce employees' exposure to combustible dust hazards. ...

Where do you stand with the "New" OSHA?

From the Safety Links Blog, an interesting post on the current focus of OSHA 
Where do you stand with the "New" OSHA?

Many local companies have found out about the “new OSHA” the hard way. The old “well at least you’re trying to comply” mentality is long gone. In fact, in December 2009 we have seen even the most proactive companies receive citations for some very obscure regulations. This direction is coming from the Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis who stated in 2009...

....“The government has a fundamental responsibility to protect workers from unsafe workplaces. We are focused on workers – not voluntary programs and alliances. We are serious about workplace protection. We are serious about workplace health. And we are serious about workplace safety... Make no mistake, the Department of Labor is back in the enforcement business.

Here are some things you can focus on to ensure compliance:

1. Recordkeeping: On October 1, 2009, OSHA announced the national emphasis on recordkeeping. The emphasis program will include greater inspection of employer maintained logs to make certain employers are recording all workplace recordable injuries/illnesses.
2. Annual verification of lockout/tagout procedures: OSHA will focus on making certain that employers are complying with the requirement to conduct periodic inspections (at least annually) of the energy control procedures as required by 20 Code Federal Regulation (CFR) 1910.147 (c)(6)(i).
3. A general lock/tagout policy does not comply with OSHA regulations: Employers must have a separate lockout/tagout procedure for each piece of different equipment.
4. Combustible dust: On April 29, 2009 OSHA announced that rules would be initiated regarding combustible dust hazards. OSHA will issue Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and convene with related stakeholders to evaluate possible regulatory methods, as well as gather data on issues relating to combustible dust.
5. Per employee penalties for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE): OSHA issued a final ruling allowing OSHA to cite employers on a “per employee basis” for failure to wear/use required PPE. The rule went into effect January 12, 2009 and applies to PPE as well as training. As a result, an employer who has failed to properly train employees or who has employees not wearing or using PPE may be issued a citation per employee.

Lastly, it is important to remember that ignorance of an existing or even a new regulation is not an excuse for non-compliance. It is your responsibility to stay current with all new regulations and safety and health information!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Managing Combustible Dust Hazards in Die Casting Operations

NADCA's Free Online Training Could Save Lives
Due to recent tragedy involving a fire fighter, the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA) is urging manufacturers to take advantage of its free online training on combustible dust hazards.

Volunteer firefighter, Steven Koeser, of St. Anna, WI, U.S. lost his life on December 30, 2009 due to an explosion that occurred from pouring water into a dumpster at a local foundry.

“Management in metalcasting operations around the country needs to continually train their employees and their local firefighters on the proper way to fight a foundry fire. Education is key to saving lives and protecting people from debilitating injuries,” says Daniel L. Twarog, NADCA president.

NADCA offers free online training on Combustible Dust hazards as well as Metal Melting and Handling, which can be found at As a die casting industry, NADCA believes it is imperative to educate not only employees but also those who may come in contact with such hazards. NADCA advises spreading information on this potentially lifesaving training to local fire departments.

Combustible Dust Explosions & Fires in the Die Casting Industry

  • Common Causal Factors:
    - Design flaws in ventilation system
    - Lack of hazard assessment
    - Lack of prevention & mitigation
  • May cause explosion when:
    - Dispersed in air or other oxidant
    - Concentration is at or above minimum explosible concentration
    - Ignition source is present
    - Dust is confined
  • Explosions can cause major damage and even trigger secondary explosions                     

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dust Explosions: Prevention and Mitigation in the Grain Industry

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Combustible Dust NEP Status Report - October 2009

Combustible Dust NEP Status Report - October 2009

OSHA — The wood products, food products, chemicals, metal products and rubber / plastic products industries account for more than 70 percent of inspections under the NEP. 20 percent of combustible dust related violations pertain to housekeeping, 27 percent to Hazard Communication, and 11 percent each to electrical, personal protective equipment, fire extinguishers and hazards addressed by the General Duty Clause.

In the absence of an OSHA standard, OSHA can cite Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, the General Duty Clause, for serious hazards, such as fire and explosion hazards for which there are feasible means of abatement. OSHA has referenced NFPA standards 654, 484, 61, and 664 as potential means of abating combustible dust hazards in citations issued under the NEP. OSHA also referenced NFPA 499 in recommending safe practices for electrical equipment used in Class II locations, and NFPA 68 and 69 for explosion prevention and protection techniques. Some of the hazards cited under the General Duty Clause are listed.