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Monday, September 30, 2013

Top Ten Business Safety Tips from Loss Prevention Expert

Top Ten Business Safety Tips from Gowrie Group's Safety and Loss Prevention Expert - Press Release - Digital Journal


(PRWEB) September 30, 2013
Gowrie Group, one of the nation's Top 100 independent insurance agencies, provides timely information on how to best protect businesses and organizations from losses. Our safety team focuses on helping clients decrease their liabilities and exposures to fines, lawsuits, negative press, and employee complaints. Gowrie's Top 10 series offer practical, smart advice to help build safer workplaces and improve OSHA standards.

Top Ten Gowrie Group Safety & Loss Prevention Tips:

#1 Fire Extinguishers. Fire extinguishers must be easily accessible, with a clearance of 18" on both sides and 36" in front of the extinguisher. OSHA can fine up to $7,000 for a blocked extinguisher. For more, see OSHA #1910.175

#2 Respirators. If you have been issued a respirator, remember that it should be kept in a sealed container when it is not in use. You must thoroughly clean your respirator after each use. Do not share your respirator with anyone. For more see OSHA #1910.134

#3 Extension Cords. Extension cords are for temporary use, which means that they should be unplugged and put away at the end of every shift. They should never be run through doorways, taped to walls, or run behind desks. For more see OSHA #1910.334

#4 Combustible Dust. The OSHA Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program means that you have a greater likelihood of being inspected for dust compliance. A simple way to measure dust accumulation: place an office paperclip on top of a surface – electrical outlets, panels, fixtures – to check that the dust does not cover the paperclip; if it does, you are in violation. Make sure that your facility is clean and dust-free. For more see OSHA #Combustible Dust, an Explosion Hazard.

#5 Stretching. Stretching during the workday is essential to both productivity and wellness, even when workstations are correct and ergonomically optimized. High repetition tasks or jobs that require long periods of static posture may require several, short rest breaks (micro breaks or rest pauses). During these breaks users should be encouraged to stand, stretch, and move around. This provides rest and allows the muscles enough time to recover. For more see OSHA’s recommendations for Ergonomic Computer Workstations.

#6 Flammable Products. Never put flammable products (solvents, some cleaners, gasoline, etc.) into spray bottles. The fumes and vapors from these types of products cannot be seen, but they are extremely flammable. When they are atomized, the possibility of explosion greatly increases. For more see OSHA # 1910.106

#7 Owner’s Manual. Always read the Owner’s Manual before using a new piece of equipment. The manual not only provides directions on use, but also provides safety tips and maintenance recommendations.

#8 Filing Cabinets. Remember to open only one drawer of a filing cabinet at a time. When two drawers are open, the cabinet is likely to tip over. An open drawer must be attended to at all times. When you are finished, remember to close the drawer completely.

#9 Personal Protective Equipment. It is necessary to wear safety glass when operating machinery and tools, working with hazardous materials, or doing any activity where there may be danger to your eye. A simple pair of glasses has been proven to protect your eyesight in these settings. Goggles, the next step up, offer slightly more protection from splashes, dust, or flying chips. For more see OSHA #1910.133

#10 Unplugging Electrical Devices. When unplugging tools, lighting, office equipment, or any other electrical devices, remember to use the plug rather than tug on the cord. The action of tugging on the cord can cause damage to the wires, resulting in fire or malfunction of the equipment. For more see OSHA # 1910.334

Gowrie's Safety & Loss Prevention insights are created by Kellie Crete. Kellie manages Gowrie Group's Safety & Loss Prevention practice area and has more than 25 years of experience in safety and loss control, and specializes in advising the marine industry and other niche segments of the commercial marketplace. Kellie is an OSHA authorized instructor.

Gowrie Group. Always on Watch. As one of the nation's Top 100 independent insurance agencies, Gowrie Group provides total risk management services to individuals and businesses with complex insurance needs. Gowrie Group offers comprehensive insurance solutions matched with trusted advice and a commitment to service excellence. Gowrie’s portfolio of offerings includes commercial, home/auto, equine, and yacht insurance, as well as employee benefits solutions. The company's 140+ professionals service clients across the US from offices in Westbrook CT, Darien CT, North Kingstown RI, and Newport RI. http://www.gowrie.com or 800.262.8911.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

OSHA Stalls on Combustible Dust, but NFPA Prepares New Standards

From Composites Manufacturing Online.

OSHA Stalls on Combustible Dust, but NFPA Prepares New Standards | Composites Manufacturing Online

OSHA Stalls on Combustible Dust, but NFPA Prepares New Standards

September 25, 2013
OSHA’s combustible dust rulemaking has been delayed, while the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is adding a new standard to address hazard identification and control.  These were key messages presented September 20 at a Small Business Administration event attend by ACMA staff.

The dust from grinding or cutting even highly filled composite laminates is “combustible” when tested using OSHA’s approved test methods. OSHA has cited several composites manufacturers for failure to comply with the current version of NFPA Standard 654, notably for poor housekeeping and locating cyclones and other dust collection equipment indoors.

Under OSHA’s National Emphasis Program for combustible dust, the agency is enforcing NFPA standards while it develops its own combustible dust rule. NFPA 654 is the standard for preventing fire and dust explosions from the manufacturing, processing, and handling of combustible particulate solids. Other NFPA standards apply to the hazards of agricultural, metals, wood and sulfur dusts.
According to the September 20 presentation, OSHA has acknowledged problems with the rulemaking. The agency is having trouble finding an approach that covers a wide variety of materials, process and equipment, and devising an enforceable definition of combustible dust.

In the meantime, OSHA is looking for other ways to address combustible dust hazards. Last year’s update to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, for example, classified combustible dust as a “hazardous chemical” and requires employers to provide warnings to workers and customer about hazards and controls.

OSHA has reportedly contributed to the development of a new standard, NFPA 652, which will provide the basic principles of and requirements for identifying and managing the fire and explosion hazards of combustible dusts and particulate solids, and will direct users to other NFPA standards for industry and commodity-specific hazards, such as NFPA 654.

The Chemical Safety Board on July 25 issued its first ever “Most Wanted Safety Improvement” designation to highlight the importance of OSHA issuing a standard to address combustible dust hazards. Several recent combustible dust incidents have killed and injured many workers.

A task group of ACMA’s Government Affairs Committee is reviewing the drafts of the proposed new NFPA 652 standard and the revised NFPA 654 standard. The deadlines for submission of comments are November 15, 2013 for NFPA 652, and July 2, 2014 for NFPA 654.

Updates on combustible dust regulation and standards are available on ACMA’s website.
John Schweitzer, ACMA Government Affairs

Friday, September 20, 2013

Are all dusts potentially explosive?

From Powder Bulk Solids:

Explosion Venting/Suppression QandA

  Are all dusts potentially explosive? How can I tell if any of the dust we create during the manufacturing of our powdered laundry detergents is unsafe? Is there a listing of consultants or companies that can be hired to evaluate our particular situation?

Answered July 9th, 2013 by Expert: Dr. Gerd Mayer
1. No. Some are some aren’t. In order to determine whether a dust is potentially explosive, it must be tested for a variety of parameters, including Kst, Pmax, MIE. Any dust with a Kst value of over 0 is considered potentially explosive.  NFPA Standard 654 requires that dust be tested and that a risk analysis be conducted.
2. The dust must be tested for the factors noted above.
3. There is no particular list per se. There are companies that will do risk analysis, including insurance companies and there are manufacturers’ representatives that will review your situation and make recommendations. OSHA will also come in to do an evaluation of your facility if you’d like. And there are project engineers that will work with you to redesign/retrofit an existing process to comply with NFPA standards.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What is the min Pmax or Kst numbers for explosion venting?

 From Powder Bulk Solids:

"NFPA 654 requires that a risk analysis be performed to evaluate your risk. And the AHJ for your facility makes the determination, based on the risk analysis, of what level of protection is required per NFPA standards and other facts and circumstances."


What is the min Pmax or Kst numbers for explosion venting? @ Ask The Experts

Explosion Venting/Suppression Q&A

  What is the min Pmax or Kst numbers for explosion venting?

Answered July 9th, 2013 by Expert: Dr. Gerd Mayer
Anything over 0 Kst  technically requires protection against the potential for a combustible dust explosion, but Kst, Pmax, MIE all have to be looked at. Once your dust is tested, NFPA 654 requires that a risk analysis be performed to evaluate your risk. And the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” for your facility—could be your insurance company, fire marshal, building inspector, OSHA, your company itself—makes the determination, based on the risk analysis, of what level of protection is required per NFPA standards and other facts and circumstances.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Surprise finding on using moisture to prevent deadly explosions

"Wood dust suspended in the air was confirmed as the fuel source for the two explosions by WorksafeBC, the province’s chief workplace safety agency."

"two criteria to determine which areas in the sawmills were at greater risk of an explosive hazard: the accumulation of wood dust at a rate of greater than one eighth of an inch in an eight-hour shift and samples that have more than 40 per cent of particles that were 425 micrometres (just under half a millimetre) or less in size "


From The Vancouver Sun:

B.C. sawmill study makes surprise finding on using moisture to prevent deadly explosions

B.C. sawmill study makes surprise finding on using moisture to prevent deadly explosions

 

Wet wood dust can explode just like dry wood dust: report

By Gordon Hoesktra, Vancouver Sun August 26, 2013

A large fire burns at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday April 24, 2012. An explosion rocked the sawmill, setting off a fire that engulfed the facility.
 

A large fire burns at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday April 24, 2012. An explosion rocked the sawmill, setting off a fire that engulfed the facility.

Photograph by: ANDREW JOHNSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS

The smallest-sized wet wood dust is just as explosive as dry wood dust from B.C. Interior sawmills, according to a report prepared by FPInnovations for the provincial sawmill sector.

The surprise finding — which raises questions about the usefulness of misting at sawmills — was part of a first-of-its-kind study in British Columbia ordered after a pair of deadly sawmill explosions in the province last year that killed four workers.

“It was assumed moisture would be a bigger factor,” said Darrell Wong, one of the report’s authors. He is a manager of FPInnovations, the non-profit forestry research centre at the University of B.C.

But Wong said more study must be done before sawmills should consider jettisoning misting systems. Misting systems have a secondary function of knocking wood dust out of the air.

Wood dust suspended in the air was confirmed as the fuel source for the two explosions by WorksafeBC, the province’s chief workplace safety agency.

As part of the new study, hundreds of dust samples from 18 sawmills were analyzed, with some samples sent to Chilworth Technologies, an lab in Princeton, N.J. that determines how explosive substances are.

The report has been made widely available through forest industry associations and the United Steelworkers, which helped fund the study. WorkSafeBC is also helping to distribute the report.

Ken Higginbotham, a spokesman for a group of 10 major lumber producers who also helped fund the study, said they were also surprised by the moisture findings. Higginbotham noted the “ideal situation” may be to use equipment to suck dust directly out of the building.
Lumber companies have begun to invest in equipment, including for ventilation.

West Fraser, Conifex, Interfor and Hampton Affiliates are spending more than $12 million in total on dust-control equipment upgrades.
Carrier Lumber has invested in two misters — large fans that blow atomized water as much as 25 metres — at its Prince George mill at a cost of $10,000 to $15,000 each.

While they are not a cure-all, Carrier Lumber president Bill Kordyban said the misters do help knock down dust. The fine water droplets attach to the wood dust particles, making them heavier and cause them to fall to the ground, he said.

The study also found there is not much difference among the explosiveness of various types of wood dust of timber, including type of wood (spruce, pine, fir, Douglas fir or cedar) and timber killed by the mountain pine beetle. That suggests timber killed by the beetle has not had its properties changed to make it more explosive, said the report.

But the report said the milling of beetle-killed pine may create more dust or dust that is easier to raise into a cloud than other woods. Among the factors needed to create a dust explosion is fine particles suspended in the air.

FPInnovations applied two criteria to determine which areas in the sawmills were at greater risk of an explosive hazard: the accumulation of wood dust at a rate of greater than one eighth of an inch in an eight-hour shift and samples that have more than 40 per cent of particles that were 425 micrometres (just under half a millimetre) or less in size.

Just 20 wood dust samples met those criteria, with 14 of those from mills that were processing beetle-killed timber. A majority of these samples were collected from under or near conveyors and in basements.

This information can help sawmills determine areas of risk, and lead to fixes through design or maintenance, said Wong. The accumulation can be checked initially by eye: if you can’t see the colour of a surface through the dust then it’s too much dust, he said.
It’s important, however, for mills to verify the risk through testing by a lab after they have pinpointed areas where fine dust is accumulating, added Wong.

Recently, B.C.’s major forest companies completed the creation of a wood dust audit standard they promised last year after the two deadly sawmill explosions. Wong said the audit process will be a good starting point to help identify areas of wood dust explosive risk.
A sawmill explosion at Babine Forest Products near Burns Lake on Jan. 20, 2012 killed two workers. A explosion at Lakeland Mills in Prince George on April 23, 2013, killed another two workers. Dozens more workers were injured in the two explosions and fires.
ghoekstra@vancouversun.com

 

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WEST EXPLOSION: Through the fire

WEST EXPLOSION: Through the fire

 When the volunteer firefighters of West got the call, they knew what they had to do. What they didn't know was that the next 30 minutes would change their brotherhood forever.