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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Final report on AL Solutions metal dust explosion and fire that killed three in West Virginia

Final report on AL Solutions metal dust explosion and fire that killed three in West Virginia - Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue from the Hemming Group Ltd

Final report on AL Solutions metal dust explosion and fire that killed three in West Virginia

Published:  18 July, 2014
CSB renews call for OSHA combustible dust standard and releases safety video on the accident.

The US Chemical Safety Board’s report reiterates a recommendation that OSHA promulgate a general industry combustible dust standard, something the agency has been calling for since its definitive 2006 study on these preventable accidents.

The December 9, 2010 accident at the facility that milled and processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal killed three employees and injured a contractor.  The incident at the facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia, is one of nine serious combustible dust incidents investigated by the CSB since 2003. These explosions and fires caused 36 deaths and 128 injuries.

Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “Preventable combustible dust explosions continue to occur, causing worker deaths and injuries. The CSB believes it is imperative for OSHA to  issue a comprehensive combustible dust standard for general industry with clear control requirements to prevent dust fires and explosions.”

The CSB’s report notes that most solid organic materials, as well as many metals, will explode if the particles are small enough, and they are dispersed in a sufficient concentration within a confined
area, near an ignition source, and it emphasizes to industry that even seemingly small amounts of accumulated combustible dust can cause catastrophic damage.

The CSB investigation determined that AL Solutions experienced a history of fatal dust fires and explosions. Investigator Mark Wingard explained, “The CSB learned that the AL Solutions facility had fatal fires and explosions involving metal dust in 1995 and 2006 in addition to the 2010 explosion. Also, from 1993 until the accident in 2010, there were at least seven fires that required responses from the local fire department.”

A newly developed CSB safety video entitled “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed” details the process of milling and blending metal powder at the facility which was then pressed into dense disk called “compacts.” The video includes a 3D computer generated animation which shows how the accident unfolded at the plant.

In presenting the findings of the case study, CSB Lead Investigator Johnnie Banks explained, “As the metals were broken down during milling, the risk of a metal dust fire or explosion increased as the metal particles decreased in size. At AL Solutions a metal blender used to process zirconium was having mechanical problems that had not been adequately repaired. As a result, the blender was producing heat or sparks due to metal-to-metal contact.”

Around 1:20 pm on December 9, 2010, a spark or hot-spot from the blender likely ignited the zirconium powder inside. The resulting flash fire lofted the metal dust particles in the blender, forming a burning metal dust cloud.

The cloud ignited other combustible dust within the production building, causing a secondary explosion that ripped through the plant, killing three workers and injuring a contract employee.

Investigator Mark Wingard said, “The National Fire Protection Association Standard for Combustible Metals, called NFPA 484, recommends specific practices for controlling metal dust, but AL Solutions did not voluntarily follow those guidelines, and there are no federal OSHA standards to enforce similar requirements.  In its 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Study, the CSB recommended that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard for general industry based on the current NFPA guidelines.”

The CSB’s report and video encourage industry to take action to prevent combustible dust incidents.  In July 2013, the CSB identified its 2006 recommendation to develop a combustible dust standard as the first issue in its “Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvement” outreach program.

As Chairperson Moure-Eraso says in the video, “Had a national standard for combustible dust been in place in 2006 – and if industry had followed the requirements – many of the severe dust incidents that
followed, including AL Solutions, may have been prevented. The time is now for OSHA to take action to prevent these tragic accidents.”

Read the full report here.

Chemical Safety Board releases report on dust explosion

Chemical Safety Board releases report on dust explosion incident

Chemical Safety Board releases report on dust explosion incident

dust explosion chemical combusitbleThe U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB),
an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial
chemical accidents, has released its final report, safety
recommendations and an accompanying safety video in regard to a fatal
combustible dust explosion that occurred at AL Solutions’ metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia, in late 2010.

The report reiterates a recommendation that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgate a general industry combustibledust standard, something the agency has been calling for since its 2006study on what the board says are preventable accidents.

The Dec. 9, 2010, explosion at the West Virginia facility, a miller and processer of scrap titanium and zirconium metal, killed three employees and injured one contractor.

The CSB says the West Virginia incident is one of nine serious combustible dust incidents that it has investigated since 2003. In total, the explosions and fires caused 36 deaths and 128 injuries.

Rafael Moure-Eraso, CSB chairman, says, “Preventable combustible dust explosions continue to occur, causing worker deaths and injuries. The CSB believes it is imperative for OSHA to issue a comprehensive combustible dust standard for general industry with clear control requirements to prevent dust fires and explosions.”

The CSB report notes that most solid organic materials, as well as many metals, will explode if the particles are small enough and are dispersed in a sufficient concentration within a confined area, near an ignition source. The CSB report emphasizes that even small amounts of accumulated
combustible dust can cause catastrophic damage.

The CSB investigation also determined that AL Solutions experienced a history of fatal dust fires and explosions.

Mark Wingard, a CSB investigator, says, “The CSB learned that the AL Solutions facility had fatal fires and explosions involving metal dust in 1995 and 2006 in addition to the 2010 explosion. Also, from 1993 until the accident in 2010, there were at least seven fires that required responses from the local fire department.”

The CSB also has produced a safety video titled “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed,” which details the process of milling and blending metal powder at the facility, which is pressed into dense disks called “compacts.” The video includes a 3-D computer generated animation showing how the accident unfolded at the plant.

In presenting the findings of the study, Johnnie Banks, CSB lead investigator, says, “As the metals were broken down during milling, the risk of a metal dust fire or explosion increased as the metal particles decreased in size. At AL Solutions a metal blender used to process zirconium was having mechanical problems that had not been adequately repaired. As a result, the blender was producing heat or sparks due to metal-to-metal contact.”

Wingard adds, “The National Fire Protection Association Standard for Combustible Metals, called NFPA 484, recommends specific practices for controlling metal dust, but AL Solutions did not voluntarily follow those guidelines, and there are no federal OSHA standards to enforce similar requirements. In its 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Study, the CSB recommended that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard for general industry based on the current NFPA guidelines.”

In the video, Moure-Eraso says, “Had a national standard for combustible dust been in place in 2006—and if industry had followed the requirements—many of the severe dust incidents that followed, including AL Solutions, may have been prevented. The time is now for OSHA to take
action to prevent these tragic accidents.”

The CSB does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Combustible Dust: Safety Videos

Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed - Safety Videos - Multimedia | from the the 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
Final Report on AL Solutions Metal Dust Explosion and Fire that Killed Three in West Virginia Leads CSB to Reemphasize Call for OSHA Combustible Dust Standard  
 CSB Releases Safety Video on Accident, “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed”

Charleston, WV, July 16, 2014 – Today the US Chemical Safety Board released its final report, safety recommendations and accompanying safety video into a fatal combustible dust explosion at the AL Solutions Interior photo of AL Solutions Following 2010 Fatal Accident metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia. As presented to the Board for a vote at a public meeting in Charleston today, the report reiterates a recommendation that OSHA promulgate a general industry combustible dust standard, something the agency has been calling for since its definitive 2006 study on these preventable accidents.
CLICK HERE to VIEW VIDEO
CLICK HERE to VIEW FINAL REPORT
The December 9, 2010 accident at the facility that milled and processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal killed three employees and injured a contractor.  The incident is one of nine serious combustible dust incidents investigated by the CSB since 2003. These explosions and fires caused 36 deaths and 128 injuries.

Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “Preventable combustible dust explosions continue to occur, causing worker deaths and injuries. The CSB believes it is imperative for OSHA to  issue a comprehensive combustible dust standard for general industry with clear control requirements to prevent dust fires and explosions.”

The CSB’s report notes that most solid organic materials, as well as many metals, will explode if the particles are small enough, and they are dispersed in a sufficient concentration within a confined area, near an ignition source, and it emphasizes to industry that even seemingly small amounts of accumulated combustible dust can cause catastrophic damage.
The CSB investigation determined that AL Solutions experienced a history of fatal dust fires and explosions. Investigator Mark Wingard explained, “The CSB learned that the AL Solutions facility had fatal fires and explosions involving metal dust in 1995 and 2006 in addition to the 2010 explosion. Also, from 1993 until the accident in 2010, there were at least seven fires that required responses from the local fire department.”

A newly developed CSB safety video entitled “Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed” details the process of milling and blending metal powder at the facility which was then pressed into dense disk called “compacts.” The video includes a 3D computer generated animation which shows how the accident unfolded at the plant.

In presenting the findings of the case study, CSB Lead Investigator Johnnie Banks explained, “As the metals were broken down during milling, the risk of a metal dust fire or explosion increased as the metal particles decreased in size. At AL Solutions a metal blender used to process zirconium was having mechanical problems that had not been adequately repaired. As a result, the blender was producing heat or sparks due to metal-to-metal contact.”

Around 1:20 pm on December 9, 2010, a spark or hot-spot from the blender likely ignited the zirconium powder inside. The resulting flash fire lofted the metal dust particles in the blender, forming a burning metal dust cloud.

The cloud ignited other combustible dust within the production building, causing a secondary explosion that ripped through the plant, killing three workers and injuring a contract employee.

Investigator Mark Wingard said, “The National Fire Protection Association Standard for Combustible Metals, called NFPA 484, recommends specific practices for controlling metal dust, but AL Solutions did not voluntarily follow those guidelines, and there are no federal OSHA standards to enforce similar requirements.  In its 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Study, the CSB recommended that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard for general industry based on the current NFPA guidelines.”
The CSB’s report and video encourage industry to take action to prevent combustible dust incidents.  In July 2013, the CSB identified its 2006 recommendation to develop a combustible dust standard as the first issue in its “Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvement” outreach program.

As Chairperson Moure-Eraso says in the video, “Had a national standard for combustible dust been in place in 2006 – and if industry had followed the requirements – many of the severe dust incidents that followed, including AL Solutions, may have been prevented. The time is now for OSHA to take action to prevent these tragic accidents.”

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial 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 does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, cell 202-446-8094 or Sandy Gilmour, Public Affairs, cell 202-251-5496.


 
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