Showing posts from February, 2015

Preventing Dryer System Fires and Explosions

With the addition of layered fire and explosion protection systems, this is an excellent article on dryer system operation and maintenance for prevention of fires and explosions.

From Process Heating and Becky Long, Thompson Dehydrating Co.

How to Prevent Dryer System Fires and Explosions Knowing what causes fires and explosions is the first step in prevention. By Becky Long, Thompson Dehydrating Co. February 13, 2015

Uncontrolled and unplanned fires and explosions in the plant are obviously undesirable. The most important reason to take measures to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate fires and explosions in a dryer system is personnel safety. At the end of the day, you want all employees to leave the plant in the  same condition as they entered. While a slow fire may give personnel time to react, an explosion  could kill or severely injure someone who happens to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time.

The longevity of your equipment is another reason to reduce fires and explosions. All e…

A Portrait on Paper

From Go Wood and Domtar: Paper Made Here: A Portrait on Paper

Paper Made Here: A Portrait on Paper
Pretty straightforward message here today.

North American wood and paper industries are among the most productive, most professional, and environmentally-conscientious companies in the world. Our environmentalist community can take a share of the credit for that last one. It's a great story of when people work together for the right things, good things happen.

So let's give credit where credit is due, and celebrate the results. Let's hope that our efforts influence others in areas of the world where industrial production is not as professional, nor conscientious. Communication, and collaborations are indirect ways to send that message.

But the best, most direct and effective way to share our industrial heritage is through the marketplace.  "Buy American" is not, at its root, a dirty protectionist rallying cry for wealthy  corporate shareholders or flag-waving crazie…

Stop Explosion Propagation

From Chemical Processing

Stop Explosion Propagation Choose a suitable method to limit damage elsewhere in the process
By David Grandaw, IEP Technologies Jan 28, 2015

Industrial explosions are a constant threat to any facility that handles combustible vapors or finely divided combustible dust. Most organic material will burn in a solid form; if this same material is in a dust or vapor form, under certain conditions it will explode. Combustible dust and vapor explosions happen frequently in the processing industry. Sometimes these explosions remain confined to the process vessel in which they originate. However, more often than not, the initial explosion will result in a secondary explosion with devastating results outside the vessel or through interconnecting ducts
or pipes.

Having a comprehensive plan to prevent an explosion from happening under normal circumstances and mitigating the effects of the deflagration under upset conditions is critical to the safe operation of any facility…

‘Industry can do much better’ - US Chemical Safety Board

From the Industrial Fire Prevention blog editor:
These lessons learned, can also be applied to the Combustible Dust Industries:
Industry can do betterPropagation from processes not isolated from each otherImproperly designed engineering controls Worker exposureBuilding and process safety design needs improvementComplex process-related accidents with tragic results are taking place across the country at companies of all sizesIf industry cannot police itself, AHJ's and government agencies will

From Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
‘Industry can do much better’
Published:  10 February, 2015
US Chemical Safety Board releases update on its ongoing investigation into the fatal methyl mercaptan release that took place at the DuPont facility in La Porte on November 15, 2014.

Four workers were killed during the release of what DuPont says were more than 23,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan, a highly toxic, flammable, and volatile liquid.

Four design issues have b…

Dangers of Tantalum

EHS, Fire and Explosion Dangers of Tantalum


What Are the Dangers of Tantalum? Last Updated: Jan 27, 2015 |
By Jean Jenkins

Electronics everywhere; are they safe?
Photo Credit cellphone image by Andrey Kiselev from

Life without cell phones and computers is unimaginable for most people. Your electronic devices (e-devices) are invaluable, but you may wonder if they are safe. You see cool-colored plastic on the outside, but may wonder what's going on inside the device. Tantalum is used to make capacitors, which store electrical energy. Tantalum capacitors involve terminals, metal plates and other impressive-sounding terms, but in the end, all you probably want to know is that they make your e-devices work efficiently, without risk to your health.

What is tantalum?

The U.S. relies on imports of mined tantalum
Photo Credit limestone mine image by Alex White from

Tantalum (Ta) is a black-gray metal, number 73 in the Periodic Table of Elements. Acc…

It takes just a spark

"It takes just a spark when conditions are right in any grain handling facility to set off an explosion"
 "Just a minor spark in such conditions can be enough to ignite the dust."

In a Flash: Conditions can develop quickly for grain dust explosions

From  Drovers CattleNetwork and Mary Lou Peter, Kansas State University Extension

In a Flash: Conditions can develop quickly for grain dust explosions By Mary Lou Peter, Kansas State University Extension February 06, 2015 | 10:38 am EST

We’ve seen the impact they can cause – grain dust explosions sparked when certain conditions come together to create a combustible situation. And those conditions can develop much faster than many know, according to a Kansas State University grain scientist.

“Grain dust explosions still occur under specific handling conditions,” said Kingsly Ambrose, assistant professor in K-State’s Department of Grain Science and Industry, but the likelihood of such occurrences decreases when employees k…

Combustible dust: Controlling the risk of explosion

From BBA :Engineering For A Changing World | Engineering Consulting, Design, Studies, Commissioning

Combustible dust: Controlling the risk of explosion Few people are aware of fires and explosions caused by combustible dust, yet they occur regularly in the industrial sector. These types of accidents have caused more than 119 deaths and 700 injuries in the U.S. since 1990 (1). In 2012, two explosions occurred within a few weeks of each other at two British Columbian sawmills, resulting in four dead and 40 injured. On August 2, there was an explosion at a car parts factory, a subcontractor of General Motors located in Kunshan in the Chinese
province of Jiangsu. This explosion killed 75 and injured 200.

When can an explosion occur?

Wood, paper, cardboard, aluminum, iron, magnesium, silicon, sugar, flours, cornstarch, whey, rubber, coal, graphite, polyester, polypropylene and PVC are only a few of the many combustible materials
that, in particulate form, become explosive. Generally, th…

Corn Flour Mill Cited for Explosion, Electric Shock Hazards | Powder/Bulk Solids

From Powder/Bulk Solids

Corn Flour Mill Cited for Explosion, Electric Shock HazardsJanuary 28, 2015
The accumulation of combustible grain dust requires more than just wiping surfaces to eliminate them. Grain dust accumulation, in the right combination of particle size, air and an ignition source, can expose workers to possible explosions or combustible dust hazards, according to citations issued to Minsa Corp. by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA cited the employer for 33 serious violations, including exposing workers to electric shock, with a proposed penalty totaling $151,200.

"Dust accumulation exists in many industries including flour, feed, grain and sugar, requiring these employers to implement a standard housekeeping policy," said Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA's area director in Lubbock. "It is the employer's responsibility to find and fix hazards that could harm workers."

Internal parts of el…