Showing posts from 2011

NFPA's Guy Colonna details new committee structure for combustible dust ...

This is a great interview with Guy Colonna with the NFPA. He explains the NFPA's document structure for combustible dust.
There are eight NFPA documents that specifically address dust....and all of them address two hazards -- fires and explosions. Guy Colonna, head of NFPA's Industrial and Chemical Engineering Division, talks about a new committee structure that's in the works for NFPA's combustible dust documents.
"View your business as the market's most trusted, valued, and prized provider, advisor, and source: What you do is for a greater good, and you're truly being selfless in your business goal to serve the client better and more fully than any other competitor does." - Jay Abraham

Workplace Safety Toolkit

Workplace Safety Toolkit

Workplace Safety Is No AccidentAn Employer's Online Toolkit to Protect stakeholders.
Safety begins with corporate culture. This site is an excellent resource for your plant safety and health program.
It contains worksheets, checklists and information on a host of subjects related to health and safety including:

Foundational concepts such as Safety Policy, Job Descriptions, Safety Committees.

Concepts and Applications about how and why accidents happen, framework for safety culture, OSHA Fact Sheet and checklist, accident analysis and reporting.

And other Concerns and Issues such as ADA Compliance, pathogens, building maintenance, confined spaces, construction, drug free workplace, electrical safety, emergency action planning, ergonomics, fleet safety, food safety, hazardous and toxic substances, housekeeping, lockout/tagout, mold and mildew, off site assignments, portable power tools, PPE, security, workplace stress, and workplace violence.

Make s…

Is Your Woodworking Plant OSHA Safe?

From the Woodworking Network blog, a good article on OSHA press releases in which wood products firms have been cited for serious, repeat and/or willful safety and health violations.

What is your corporate safety culture like?

Only serious "continuous significant improvement", and benchmarking best engineering practices to your health and safety program will prevent these type OSHA violations and citations.  Ignorance and negligence of current NFPA Standards for combustible dust, dust collection and other safety practices is what causes OSHA to have to police your business.

Like Rich in this article, I shake my head every time I read one of these stories or press releases, and it is almost a daily occurrence.  The shame is that many of the events in these stories could have been prevented!

My business is in the field of combustible dust, and helping protect process conveying systems, and dust collection systems from fires and explosions. My primary focus is in prevention, an…

So you want to build a biomass plant?

So you want to build a biomass plant? - - the portal for timber, logs and woody biomass

In this article from, Paul Janz with Ausenco Sandwell in Vancouver, BC gives you a quick overview of all the complexities involved.

A Beginners Guide to the Project Development ProcessWith the current emphasis on producing `green energy from biomass and the subsequent government grants and subsidies available to promote the idea, a lot of well-meaning but inexperienced entrepreneurs are promoting the construction of plants that will process biomass into one form or another.

There are some basic steps that all projects go through, from concept to start-up, whether the `builder is new to the process or whether it is a company with a well formulated plan for development. Following is a brief description of the project development process.

Dust explosions explained | Characteristics, ignition and effects

Dust explosions explained | Characteristics, ignition and effects

From the Dust Explosion Info website a great article on characteristics of explosions,  explosion concentrations, ignition of dust clouds, and the effects of explosions.

This website is an excellent starting point for those wanting to know more about explosions, the physical characteristics of an explosion, the necessary conditions for an explosion to occur, potential ignition sources, dust explosion statistics, flammability, risk assessment, dust explosion prevention and protection, standards, and hazardous area classification.

OSHA Should Beware of Combustible Trust

Combustible Trust
From Material Handling and Logistics and the blog, is an interesting piece on why OSHA removed powered industrial trucks from the latest Combustible Dust status report in the rulemaking process.

OSHA Should Beware of Combustible Trust
Tom Andel September 9th, 2011

That old line about the sliding scale of untruths—lies, damn lies and statistics—is fun to use when someone quotes a number to support their argument. How many times have you read an article that debunks a widely-believed statistic? A few years ago chocolate was bad for you. Too much sugar, caffeine and empty calories. Now the conventional wisdom is that chocolate is good for you. Its antioxidants will help you live to 150. That’s if you don’t get killed in an industrial dust explosion first.
That was another popular belief a couple years ago—that lift trucks were involved in many of the combustibe dust violations found by OSHA inspectors. That stat was reported in a status report O…

System Safety Skeptic - Lessons Learned

System Safety Skeptic - Lessons Learned

"Effective system safety efforts require learning from failure"
From Terry Hardy and the "System Safety Skeptic" Blog, an article on the lessons learned from the chemical explosion at the 1999 Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, TN.
Lesson Learned: Analyses after accidents often show that clues existed before the mishap occurred. Such clues frequently take the form of anomalies observed during the life cycle of a project. An anomaly is an apparent problem or failure that occurs during verification or operation and affects a system, a subsystem, a process, support equipment, or facilities. Anomaly or problem reporting and corrective action, therefore, can play an important role in system safety analyses. An effective anomaly report and corrective action process not only allows for the reporting of problems, but also implements a closed-loop process for finding and fixing the root cause of a problem. In the case of this accident, if the…

Explosions, fires kill 47% more workers in 2010

Explosions, fires kill 47% more workers in 2010

From and Woodworking Network, an article based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, shows 47% rise in fire and explosion deaths in 2010.

WASHINGTON — Work-related fatalities resulting from fires and explosions increased dramatically from 113 in 2009 to 187 in 2010 -- the highest count since 2003, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.
This 47% rise in fire and explosion deaths stands out from the rest of the report which indicated that job-related deaths held steady from 2009 to 2010. In fact, four fewer workers died on the job in 2010 than in 2009, 4,547 compared to 4,551 respectively.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is continuing to study the potential of developing a combustible dust standard that could impact the woodworking and other industries.
The top five causes of work-r…

It's Only DUST! What's the big deal?

"It's only DUST! What's the big deal? Under the right conditions, many types of industrial dust, including coal, paper, and wood dust, can ignite and produce a devastating explosion. With our Combustible Dusts course, you'll learn to identify the hazards of combustible dust by using the Dust Fire and Explosion Pentagon. You'll get a clear understanding of dust control and preventions measures as well as dust analysis and explosion risk reduction. Our course will also help identify additional risks and prevention techniques associated with primary and secondary dust explosions.
Based on OSHA's ""Status Report on Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program"" and ""Hazard Communication Guidance for Combustible Dusts."""

From the Combustible Dusts Safety Video -
It's Only DUST! What's the big deal?

Category » Dr. Gerd Mayer « @ Ask The Experts

From Poweder and Buld Solids "Ask The Experts" Blog, here is a great seires of questions about dust collectors and combustible, answered by Dr. Gerd Mayer with Rembe, Inc.

Category » Dr. Gerd Mayer « @ Ask The Experts

Explosion Venting/Suppression Q&A If you have an existing dust collector with no provisions for handling explosive/combustible dust and you test your dust and find out it is combustible, what are the issues to consider in determining if the system can be modified to handle explosive dust or if it needs to be replaced with a new system? Under typical circumstances where you have complete information about your dust collector, such as the strength of the collector, retrofitting should be no problem. In that situation, in accordance with NFPA standards 654, 68, 69, and perhaps other standards that specifically address your industry, a dust collector must be vented/suppressed and isolated ( the inlet always needs to be isolated; the clean air side must b…

Sawdust Cannon

From Navy Island, Inc., a MN manufacturer of veneers and doors. Excellent example of a controlled wood dust explosion. Notice how the flame front moves through the suspended dust. This is a perfect example how a flame front will travel in a primary or secondary explosion. Click on the link to see the original:

Sawdust Cannon

Or watch this YouTube video:

Non-compliance can be expensive

From comes a story about a judge who ruled in favor of the insurance company after a fire, when a company had not updated it's protection systems. This could also apply to the process industries. Think about what this could mean for your company. If you think compliance is expensive, look at the cost of non-compliance.

Massachusetts Judge: Obsolete Fire-Suppression Means No Claims Paid
A Massachusetts restaurant owner who failed to upgrade his obsolete fire suppression system was not entitled to collect insurance money after a massive fire six years ago — and must return $15,000 advanced to him by his insurer, an appeals court judge ruled.
At issue is an exclusion in a commercial lines policy issued to the French King restaurant in Erving, which required the restaurant owner to maintain a fire suppression system. The insurer — Interstate Fire & Casualty Co., a subsidiary of Fireman’s Fund — claimed that the fire-suppression system installed at the …

Georgia Biomass Explosion

From the Florida Times Union and, a brief story about the explosion at Georgia Biofuels.  Pelletizers, dryers, grinders, pellet coolers, dust collection systems, and storage silo's are main concerns for safety systems to prevent fires and explosions at biomass pellet plants. This fire appears to have started in one of the pellet mills or "pelletizers" which extrude wood dust into pellets at high speed creating friction and heat. The fire was then likely transferred to the pellet coolers and dust collection systems which contain combustible dust in suspension causing the deflagration.

-Jeff Nichols

Overheated assembly caused Georgia Biomass explosion |

By Teresa Stepzinski Wood pellet production should resume today at Georgia Biomass, which was crippled by a dust explosion last month. The plant is near Waycross.
"We're ramping up now ... starting the equipment and getting it all ready to go," plant manager Ken…

Workplace Safety * Consider Inherent Safety at Your Plant

Workplace Safety | Consider Inherent Safety at Your Plant | Chemical Processing

From, an excellent article on Inherent Safety Design (ISD).  Here are a few important highlights for ISD.  This article has been condensed for space, for the full article, click on the link above.

Consider Inherent Safety at Your Plant
Many sites can benefit -- but confusion about how to identify options stymies efforts.By Dennis C. Hendershot, process safety consultant.

Inherently safer design (ISD) is a philosophy for designing and operating a safe process plant [1,2]. ISD aims to eliminate or significantly reduce hazards, rather than managing them with hardware and procedures. When feasible, ISD provides more robust and reliable risk management and, by eliminating costs associated with safety equipment and procedures, may make processes simpler and more economical.

Levels of Inherent Safety
Used during detailed equipment configuration and design, it can eliminate or significan…

Failure Modes of Equipment Reliability Processes

Failure Modes of Equipment Reliability Processes

From a great and timely article outlining various Failure Modes including not understanding the Equipment Reliability Process, and related to combustible dust fires and explosions not understanding Mechanical Ignition sources. For the full article click on the link above.
Failure Modes of Equipment Reliability Processes Gary Fore, CMRPBill Hillman

Most equipment failures are a result of failed reliability processes. This article covers many of the reasons why equipment reliability processes fail. The authors have personally observed all of the reasons for reliability process failure discussed in this paper.
Failure Mode: Implementation Failure
It can be rightfully argued that all equipment reliability process (EqRP) failure modes are somehow tied to poor implementation. Not establishing an initial direction is a critical mistake in the implementation process. Establishing clear goals and expectations and a clear…

Top Sites for Fire Safety for Your Home or Business

Adapted from blog post Top 30 Sites to Teach Kids About Fire Safety

Top Sites for Fire Safety for your Home or BusinessNational Fire Prevention AssociationThey are the authority on fire, electrical, and building safety. Visit to get codes and standards, safety information, training, and much more. There is also a special section for kids, blogs, and much more on fire education.Fire Safety Medline Plus often shares trusted health information. In this section, they share fire safety and prevention tips. Scroll down to get information on fireworks, gasoline, smoking, and many other fire related topics.Fire Extinguisher 101 This site’s goal is to teach all visitors about the different kinds of fire extinguishers and why it is important to have one in the home. There are sections on types, how they work, how to use one, maintenance, and more. You can even visit to learn about the biggest fires in history.How Smoke Detectors Work HowStuffWorks is a leading science. In t…

HazardEx - Dust to Dust

From the HazardEx website, a good overview of hazardous materials, fines, explosion vents.

HazardEx - Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust28 February 2011Author : J GALE Dr Julian Hought of risk management specialists, HFL Risk Services, explains the hidden dangers of flour and other dry ingredients and how we can guard against potentially fatal explosions.Every year an estimated 2000 dust explosions occur in factories and refineries in Europe. There are approximately 50 reported dust explosions in the UK alone – that’s roughly one every single week. But these explosions are not solely the preserve of chemical or wood processing companies.

A staggering 24 per cent of them occur within the food industry.
In fact dry ingredients such as flour, custard powder, instant coffee, sugar, dried milk, potato powder, soup powder and cocoa powder have been responsible for 120 deaths in the past 30 years.

All dust explosions are preventable. However in order to prevent them you first need to know h…

Events leading up to Federal Mogul Explosion

From WSLS10 Roanoak, VA, here is "the rest of the story".

Events leading up to Federal Mogul Explosion: "WSLS has obtained more information through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act."
Published: June 24, 2011 In information obtained through the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, WSLS has learned more about the December explosion at the Federal Mogul plant in Blacksburg. According to inspectors the explosion happened inside a 14 inch diameter exhaust ventilation duct. The ducts were inspected in early November. Federal Mogul employee said could not remember if mention of the explosivity of aluminum dust to inspectors or not. Then inspectors submitted a request to Federal Mogul to do an inspection of the exhaust ducts, also in November, but according to the report, due to work schedules at Federal Mogul the inspection kept getting pushed back until it was accomplished on December 30. The inspection revealed only one exhaust duct n…

CSB investigates Hoeganaese - Finds Tons of Combustible Dust

U.S. Chemical Safety Board

The CSB investigates Hoeganaese finds literally "tons" of combustile dust on-site.

STATEMENT FOR NEWS CONFERENCE Friday June 3, 2011 Nashville, TN CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso and Investigator-in-Charge Johnnie Banks Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso:  Good morning and welcome to our news conference. I am Rafael Moure-Eraso, Chairperson of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, or CSB. We are here today to update the media and the public on the status of our ongoing investigation into the explosion and ensuing fire that occurred at the Hoeganaes facility on Friday, May 27 in Gallatin, Tennessee.  Tragically, two workers died and a third was gravely injured. First, a quick word about the CSB. We are an independent federal agency charged with investigating chemical accidents and reporting on their root causes. We are not a regulatory agency and do not issue fines or penalties. We make formal safety recommendations to prevent similar accidents fro…