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Friday, April 10, 2015

Lakeland inquest fraught with controversy

"Near the end of the day shift on Jan. 19, 2012, a saw on the large headrig Roche operated "deviated" throwing up sparks and lighting the nearby sawdust. That's not unheard of in a sawmill, but this time it also sent a burst of flame high enough to nearly hit the ceiling as it climbed the sawdust floating in the air."


Lakeland inquest fraught with controversy -  from The Working Forest, Your #1 source for forestry and forest industry news, and the Prince George Citizen

By: Prince George Citizen

Set to resume next month, plenty of ground has already been covered over the two-and-a-half weeks the coroner's inquest into the fatal Lakeland Mills sawmill explosion has been held so far.

By the time it was temporarily adjourned on March 26, the inquest had heard from 47 witnesses, beginning with the widows of Al Little and Glenn Roche, who died from the extensive burns they suffered in the April 23, 2012 blast.

Another 22 people were injured, many seriously.

With photos of the two deceased placed next to coroner Lisa Lapointe, testimony followed from employees at the sawmill who either worked alongside Little and Roche or were in the facility on the night in question.

What they had to say made for some gripping accounts and set the scene for a jury who has been asked to make recommendations to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

And no sooner did those employees begin to speak than questions started to be raised, notably about a "near miss" three months before.

Near the end of the day shift on Jan. 19, 2012, a saw on the large headrig Roche operated "deviated" throwing up sparks and lighting the nearby sawdust. That's not unheard of in a sawmill, but this time it also sent a burst of flame high enough to nearly hit the ceiling as it climbed the sawdust floating in the air.

The incident heightened a concern Roche already had about the mill's cleanliness. Lakeland added a third shift midway through 2011 to increase its output of lumber made from beetle-killed pine, which kicked up a particularly fine and dry sawdust.

What's more, in the days following the incident, Little, a supervisor at the sawmill, twice stopped production to have trouble areas cleaned up. Yet an internal report apparently authored by Little on what happened never made it to upper management and the incident was never reported to Prince George Fire Rescue because no one was hurt and there was no structural damage.

But perhaps the comment that most closely drove home the significance of the event came from Paul Orr, WorkSafeBC's lead investigator on the explosion that eventually rocked Lakeland. If not for one missing component in the recipe for an explosion - compression - he said there likely would have been an one on that day rather than three months later.

As it stood, Babine Forest Products near Burns Lake became the first victim of what safety authorities and sawmill operators have claimed throughout the inquest was a new phenomena - a full-on blast fueled by wood dust. Babine was leveled the day after the burst of flame at the Lakeland headrig, killing two employees and injuring 20 others.

That such explosions could occur in more confined spaces like baghouses, where sawdust sucked away through elaborate collection systems would end up, was common knowledge throughout the industry.

But for one to occur in a relatively open facility like the main operating area of a sawmill itself was unprecedented, officials have consistently stressed.

And in the days that followed Babine, there was a reluctance by WorkSafeBC in particular to raise any possibilities about the causes until all the facts were in. Should investigators have at least given a
heads up regarding the possibilities they were considering? (Natural gas and methane were also among the candidates for fuels).

According to conventional wisdom, the inquest heard more than once, it's best to wait rather than lead operators down the wrong path and away from something they may already be doing to address what they may think is the problem.

Yet hunches were already being pursued, at least by one Lakeland employee.

A bit more than two weeks after the blast at Babine, WorkSafeBC received an anonymous phone call in which a concern about the Lakeland's condition was raised along with a concern it could become the "next Babine sawmill."

The call came on a Friday afternoon and on the subsequent Monday morning, two inspectors paid an unannounced visit to the sawmill. Other than perhaps a bit more dust than usual, they did not notice anything but did not give the facility a thorough check.

It just so happened a Lakeland employee took photos that same day of some less easily-reached areas where high levels of dust had piled up and, after the blast, he turned them over to WorkSafeBC investigators. Coroner's counsel John Orr made extensive use of them as he confronted witnesses about the mill's condition.

Arguably, the inspectors' visit amounted to another missed opportunity to alert Lakeland regarding the seriousness of the problem.

But by the same token, management started to take action, the inquest heard, including hiring on more cleanup staff and shopping for an industrial-strength vacuum system to help workers more thoroughly deal with the dust.

Just 11 days before the explosion, representative of a supplier visited Lakeland. He also took photos and they showed some alarming piles, particularly near the area where WorkSafeBC investigators
concluded the explosion originated.

The representative told the inquest he warned Lakeland officials at the time but conversely, they said they never heard any such call for concern. In any case, it did appear Lakeland was ready to buy a system but it was going to take about six weeks to get it delivered and, in the interim, the explosion occurred.

Underlying the whole proceeding has been the question of whether a coroner's inquest is the right venue.

Critics, notably the Opposition New Democrats and the United Steelworkers, have called for a public inquiry, which they say would have the power to find fault, something an inquest does not do.

The provincial government has stood its ground although it compromised somewhat.

Originally, a single inquest was going to be held in Prince George for both the Lakeland and Babine explosions, but after some protest, there will now be a separate inquest for Babine, to start July 13 in
Burns Lake.

Perhaps in answer to the criticism, the tone has often been confrontational with coroner's counsel John Orr in particular quizzing witnesses on apparent inconsistencies in their testimony and other
counsel following suit.

Even the jury members continued the trend to some extent when given their opportunities to ask the witnesses questions.

That apparently has not been good enough for the USW who withdrew its counsel shortly after its Western Canada director, Stephen Hunt, completed his testimony, and issued a statement continuing its call for a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, coroner's counsel John Orr began leaning on Lakeland to release the results of an investigation it had commissioned into the blast.

At the same time, he told the inquest he had also learned that even though it was subject to privilege, Lakeland's counsel had offered to share the information it had gleaned with WorkSafeBC to help with its investigation only to be rebuffed.

After a bit of deliberation, Lakeland counsel Gavin Marshall handed over UBS devices containing material from the investigation and Orr convinced Lapointe to adjourn the proceeding to give him time to review the material.

Orr also said he will be summoning David Anderson, who was the WorkSafeBC president at the time, to answer questions about the decision to turn down Lakeland's offer.

That Anderson was not called in the first place has been an issue for the USW.

There has also been the question of whether an inquest can add anything.

The jury, reduced from seven at the start to five, will be asked to make recommendations on how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

But when given the chance, WorkSafeBC and other officials have emphasized that much has changed and that there is now an industry-wide recognition that wood dust can fuel explosions, not just fires, in sawmills.

Steps have been taken accordingly, they say, to deal with the issue.

Similarly, the jury was shown the many features incorporated into the new Lakeland sawmill to keep such a conflagration from ever happening again.

The inquest was first expected to wrap up by March 20 but that deadline was soon thrown out the window as it quickly became apparent lawyers representing the coroner, USW, WorkSafeBC, Lakeland and, to a lesser extent, the B.C. Safety Authority, were going to take witnesses through extensive questioning.

Just a handful of witnesses are left to testify, but given how long it's taken so there's no telling when the jury will start deliberations.

Either way, both the proceedings and the idea of an inquest itself has generated plenty of controversy.

The inquest resumes on May 11 at the Prince George courthouse.


Prince George Citizen


Additional Resources from Industrial Fire Prevention

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Biomass Conference: All Things Biomass (Power & Thermal, Pellets, Biogas...

The Thrower Extinguisher - an extinguisher which is activated when it is thrown into the flames

MERCOR TECRESA - The Thrower Extinguisher


A Japanese company has developed an extinguisher which is activated when it is thrown into the flames and, as we can see in the video, it extinguish the fire.
 
The container holds a blue liquid which, when released, it is scattered on the fire area releasing the
ammonium that acts as a fire retardant. This mixture all together the carbon dioxide generated by the fire extinguish it.





Monday, April 6, 2015

NFPA Prepares to Issue NFPA 652 Fundamentals of Combustible Dust

From NFPA Journal and NFPA.org - Credible Risk, March April 2015


Wood dust explosion in British Columbia.

PREPARING A NEW NFPA STANDARD requires a mixture of ingredients, some provided by the public and the technical committee, others provided by NFPA staff. The aim is that, in the end, we have developed a meaningful document that benefits the targeted occupancy or addresses a particular hazard. The path to completion can sometimes be unusual, as was the case with the new NFPA 652, Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, which is due to be issued this summer.


To ensure that certain deadlines were met, NFPA’s editorial team resorted to humor to catch my attention. I love soccer, and was fortunate to spend time in Brazil last summer at the FIFA World Cup, where I followed the progress of the U.S. side through the so-called “group of death.” When I returned to work, one of the tasks at the top of my list was to review the edits to the Second Revisions for NFPA 652 prior to balloting the committee. To help put me in the proper frame of mind, a colleague resorted to posting images of Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s star player, around my office, with captions of him pleading “please have NFPA 652 finished.” The tactic worked.


NFPA 652 provides the general requirements for management of combustible dust fire and explosion
hazards, and directs the user to NFPA’s industry or commodity-specific standards, as appropriate: NFPA 61, Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities; NFPA 484, Combustible Metals; NFPA 654, Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids; NFPA 655, Prevention of Sulfur Fires and Explosions; and NFPA 664, Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities.


The new standard establishes the relationship and hierarchy between it and any of the industry or commodity-specific standards, ensuring that fundamental requirements are addressed consistently across the industries, processes, and dust types.






Combustible Dust: Solutions Delayed




CSB safety video about a fatal combustible dust explosion at the AL Solutions metal recycling facility in New Cumberland, West Virginia.Courtesy: USCSB YouTube Channel


That consistency is essential, since dust-related fires and explosions continue to impact a range of industries—and the people who work in them—around the globe. In the U.S. alone, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), 50 combustible dust accidents, resulting in 29 fatalities and 161 injuries, occurred between 2008 and 2012. Those included a 2010 incident at A.L. Solutions in West Virginia, where titanium dust resulted in an explosion and fire that killed three workers; the 2011 incidents at the Hoeganaes metal powder plant in Tennessee, where three combustible metal dust accidents that year killed five workers; and the 2012 flash fire at a U.S. Ink plant in New Jersey that injured seven workers, which a CSB investigation attributed to the accumulation of combustible dust inside a poorly designed dust collection system that had been put into operation just four days before the accident. Last August, aluminum dust was blamed for a catastrophic explosion at an automotive parts factory in Jiangsu, China, that resulted in the deaths of 146 workers and injuries to scores more.
In January, the CSB used the public meeting announcing the completion of its U.S. Ink report to once again highlight the need for a “national general industry combustible dust standard.”



How we got here


While NFPA addressed combustible dust hazards and safeguards for flour and pulverized fuels, such as coal, as far back as 1920, it wasn’t until 2003 that users from all sectors  comprehensively examined the specific requirements contained in the five commodity-specific NFPA standards. Those documents apply broadly to  varied facilities, processes, equipment types, and dust types in order
to protect against the hazards from combustible dust fires and explosions.



A basis for safety embedded in each of those standards requires the fuel—in this case dust—to be managed, ignition sources to be controlled, and impact from an explosion to be limited through construction, isolation, and housekeeping. The CSB highlighted those standards in each of its investigation reports in 2003and in its 2006 combustible dust study. Among its conclusions was that
“incidents would have been prevented or consequences mitigated” if the facilities had complied with the relevant NFPA standards. The CSB also recommended that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) develop a comprehensive federal standard to address the myriad workplace hazards found in facilities where combustible solids are handled, used, or stored in a manner that has the potential to generate and release combustible dusts.






Inferno: Dust Explosion at Imperial Sugar



On February 7, 2008, fourteen workers were fatally burned in a series of sugar dust explosions at the Imperial Sugar plant near Savannah, Georgia. This CSB safety video explains how the accident occurred.Courtesy: USCSB YouTube Channel


That recommendation remained in place
without regulatory action by OSHA until 2008, when a tragic explosion and fire destroyed an Imperial Sugar refinery near Savannah, Georgia.
The event claimed 14 lives and injured nearly 40, but it was also instrumental in helping overcome the inertia that had prevented any
movement on a federal combustible dust standard. In March 2008, a revised and more robust national emphasis program for combustible dust was issued by OSHA. It provided guidance for the OSHA compliance teams on how they should inspect facilities where combustible dusts might be present. It incorporated the NFPA commodity-specific standards in two ways: to aid compliance officials in determining where combustible dust hazards might be found, and, where hazards are identified, to serve as a feasible means for abating those hazards. The momentum towards developing a regulation continued in April 2009 with the announcement that OSHA would initiate the rulemaking process in order to develop a
federal standard.



In October 2009, OSHA published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, or ANPR. While the ANPR asked a number of questions, several of them specifically sought comment on whether to simply use the existing NFPA standards, either through incorporation by reference or by permitting employers already in compliance with the applicable NFPA standard to be considered as complying with any OSHA regulation that would be developed. The commentary and questions further suggested that, while NFPA publishes several documents enabling unique industry processes and dust types to be addressed individually, the approach may also contribute to confusion and possible inconsistent requirements between standards.





Global Problem timeline

Click to enlarge



In response to this perceived
challenge to the longstanding NFPA combustible dust standards, NFPA staff addressed the question of whether there was a better way to structure the committees and standards. Working through the direction of the NFPA Standards Council, a task group chaired by a member of council explored options for restructuring the combustible dust project. The task group consisted of the chairs of the four existing, commodity-specific standards technical committees, an additional member from each committee, and NFPA staff liaisons. A report was presented to the Standards Council at its March 2011 meeting that contained two key recommendations: the establishment of a correlating committee to oversee the work of the four existing combustible dust committees, as well as the work of a proposed new committee on fundamentals; and the establishment of a new technical committee whose scope would permit it to develop documents on the management of hazards from combustible dusts and combustible particulate solids.



For any NFPA standards activity, the scope frames the work of the committee as it executes its charter, namely the development of one or more documents. With the creation of the correlating committee, an extra layer of oversight was added to the combustible dust document family to be more responsive to the challenges made as part of the OSHA narrative in the ANPR.

According to the scope of the correlating committee, the group was given responsibility “for documents on hazard identification, prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires and explosions … in facilities and systems” involved with “combustible particulate solids, combustible metals, or hybrid mixtures.” While that scope is broad, that of the new technical committee on dust fundamentals is limited to “information and documents on the management of fire and explosion hazards from combustible dusts and particulate solids.”


The committee on fundamentals began its work in earnest in early 2012, using task groups to develop draft chapters based on a straw-man outline proposed by the committee. A preliminary draft was developed and approved by the committee to serve as the basis for requesting approval from the NFPA Standards Council to establish a specific revision cycle. The Council initially approved the
development of NFPA 652 for the Fall 2014 cycle; during the second draft stage of the process, however, the committee requested more time to  review and process the extensive public comments received. That request was approved for the Annual 2015 cycle, which is where the new standard
currently remains.



With the completion of the NFPA 652 Second Draft in May, other combustible-dust standards activities began. Three of the industry or commodity-specific standards entered the Annual 2016 revision cycle and held their First Draft meetings last summer. One of their tasks was to consider the impact of NFPA 652 on their documents. At the same time, the correlating committee met to review and approve the Second Draft of NFPA 652 and the First Drafts for NFPA 61, NFPA 654, and NFPA 664. In the three years since this restructuring process began, the important first steps toward developing consistency within the NFPA combustible dust standards have been taken.


Going forward


The benefits of the formal hierarchy outlined in the new NFPA 652 result when an industry or commodity-specific standard must justify why some “fundamental” provisions in the standard are not applicable to a specific industry. Throughout the standard, requirements are linked to lessons learned or findings reported in investigations by the CSB and elsewhere.


For that reason, hazard awareness appears prominently within the standard through the inclusion of
chapters on hazard identification, hazard analysis or evaluation, and hazard management involving hazard prevention or mitigation. Both the CSB and OSHA raise concerns with the retroactivity statement that generally appears within NFPA documents using approved “boilerplate” language, which states that the provision applies throughout the document to new facilities only unless modified. Using the lessons learned and the agency comments, the committee made some of the requirements in NFPA 652 apply retroactively.






223330 BA_Omaha World _opt


Grain dust was blamed for an explosion at an animal feed facility in Omaha, Nebraska, in January 2014 that killed two and injured 10. Photo: Brynn Anderson; The World Herald


The most controversial provision to be applied retroactively is the dust hazards analysis, or DHA. The standard defines DHA as “a systematic review to identify and evaluate the potential fire, flash fire, or explosion hazards associated with the presence of one or more combustible particulate solids in a process or facility.” For existing facilities, a DHA is permitted to be phased in and completed not later than three years from the effective date of the standard. Because so many of the investigation findings conclude that owners/operators appear to be unaware of the hazards posed by combustible particulate solids that have the potential to form combustible dusts when processed, stored, or handled, the committee believed it was essential to establish the DHA as a fundamental step in creating a plan for safeguarding such facilities.


While these steps and others demonstrate NFPA’s active focus on safeguarding against combustible dust hazards, there has been little progress on the regulatory front. OSHA announced at the end of 2014 that the combustible dust rulemaking was no longer on its list of active regulatory projects, citing other priorities. In an op-ed that appeared in The New York Times in August, Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso, chairman of the CSB, decried the series of laws, executive orders, and judicial barriers that have “virtually paralyzed” the government’s ability to issue new safety standards. “According to a nonpartisan congressional study, the process can take nearly 20 years from start to finish,”  Moure-Eraso wrote. “Given those conditions, is it any wonder that a recent RAND Corporation report found that American workers are three times more likely than their British counterparts to die on the job? ... I believe that OSHA’s leadership wants to move forward with a combustible dust standard just as much as we do. But as its director, David Michaels, recently told NBC News, ‘We have a standards process that is broken.’”


While a comprehensive federal standard for combustible dust no longer seems likely with that announcement, the fire and explosion hazards from combustible dusts continue to exist, and they present a credible risk within facilities across a range of industries. Commenting on the CSB release of its U.S. Ink report, Moure-Eraso said that an OSHA standard “would likely have required compliance with National Fire Protection Association codes that speak directly to such critical factors as dust containment and collection, hazard analysis, testing, ventilation, air flow, and fire suppression.” NFPA believes that its standards continue to address those critical factors.


Perhaps the time is right for OSHA to add NFPA 652 to its national emphasis program, or to take other steps to encourage industries to comply with NFPA standards.


GUY COLONNA is NFPA's division manager of industrial and chemical engineering.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

How to Prevent Combutisble Dust Fires and Explosions

From WoodworkingNetwork.com

How to Prevent Comdust

Combustible Sawdust - How to Protect Your Workers Your Business


Posted: 04/01/2015 4:04PM











EDITOR’S NOTE: This information was presented in the webcast “Combustible Sawdust - How to Protect Your Workers Your Business,” which broadcast in March. Presented by Air Handling’s Jamison Scott, and sponsored by GreCon, the full webcast can be heard on-demand at WoodworkingNetwork.com/webcasts

Combustible dust continues to make headlines. One of the top health and safety issues in the woodworking industry, it impacts companies of
all sizes.


OSHA defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in the air, in certain conditions.” For a combustible dust explosion to occur, five factors must be present: fuel (combustible dust), ignition (heat or spark), oxygen
(air), dispersion (dust suspension) and confinement. 


Removal of any one element will eliminate the possibility of occurrence. But far too often, this is not the case, sometimes with fatal consequences.

While OSHA has been following this issue for approximately 10 years, it recently has begun inspecting and fining companies for improper combustible dust exposure and possible hazards. In doing so, it has been citing the standards put forth by the National Fire Protection
Agency (NFPA).


The NFPA, an International Codes and Standards Organization, creates voluntary consensus standards and provides guidelines for preventing combustible dust explosions. Those most applicable to the woodworking industry include: NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, and the soon-to-be-released NFPA 652: Standard on Combustible Dust.

Prevention Methods
While commonsense, housekeeping is one of the most important things a facility can do to control wood dust buildup. One of the most important things any facility can do is fully engage in housekeeping and fugitive dust control, said Jamison Scott, executive vice president of Air Handling. If the underlying surface colors of a machine, for example, are not readily discernible, there could be a dust deflagration hazard.

However, he cautioned, refrain from blowing the dust off with an air gun. That simply releases and stratifies the dust. Instead, use a vacuum. Then determine the source of escaping dust and repair it. For example, ensure all ductwork is airtight.

In addition to housekeeping, other steps for prevention include: Hazard Recognition/Assessment; Building Design & Engineering Controls; Administrative Controls; and Worker Training. Hazard Recognition/Assessment includes determining if dust is combustible. This can be done via Dust
Explosion Testing, which may include a Particle Size and Moisture Analysis, Explosion Severity Test, which tests the Kst value and Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC). Hazard  Recognition/Assessment also covers issues related to NFPA as well as state and local codes.


Building Design & Engineering Controls cover “fixed structures that are built into a facility or processing equipment designed to remove or minimize a hazard.” Building design focuses on preventing fugitive dust accumulation on beams and other flat surfaces, including rectangular shaped ductwork and flat surfaced lighting fixtures.


Engineering controls focus on the equipment, such as dust collection systems or prevention devises such as spark detection in dust collectors and ductwork, and explosion venting and suppression systems.


Documentation, is one of the most important components of Administrative Controls. Agencies, such as OSHA, require written rules and procedures to ensure policies are fully understood and practiced by employees. In addition, various NFPA Standards have detailed proper methods for operating  procedures, inspections, testing and maintenance procedures as well as training.

Who’s in Charge
The following is a list of some of the agencies and organizations involved in monitoring dust hazards in the woodshop.

OSHA: Since currently there is no specific standard related to Combustible Dust, the General Duty Clause is being cited for these violations, referencing NFPA as a resource. Congress: Tired of waiting for OSHA to create a standard, Congress has begun introducing legislation to regulate combustible dust. The most recent has been H.R. 691, the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust  Explosions and Fires Act of 2013.

NFPA: Creates voluntary consensus standards used by OSHA, AHJ, Business Owner and other related parties.

AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction): This includes the fire marshal, building inspector, or any
other local, state, or federal inspector having jurisdiction over your facility.


Insurance Company: The FM Global data sheet 7-76 Prevention and Mitigation of Combustible Dust lists “Woodworking” as the greatest number of “Losses by Industry” and “Dust Collectors” as highest number of “Losses by Equipment Type.”

Business Owner: Ultimately the owner has the responsibility to protect workers and the business, by using these and any other appropriate and relevant resources.

Employee: Worker training is of utmost importance for safety and the prevention of workplace incidents.





How to Prevent Comdust


Posted:
04/01/2015 4:04PM




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Printer-friendly version of this articlePrinter-friendly version of this article  

EDITOR’S NOTE: This information
was presented in the webcast “Combustible Sawdust - How to Protect Your
Workers & Your Business,” which broadcast in March. Presented by
Air Handling’s Jamison Scott, and sponsored by GreCon, the full webcast
can be heard on-demand at WoodworkingNetwork.com/webcasts.



Combustible
dust continues to make headlines. One of the top health and safety
issues in the woodworking industry, it impacts companies of all sizes.


OSHA defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an
explosion hazard when suspended in the air, in certain conditions.” For a
combustible dust explosion to occur, five factors must be present: fuel
(combustible dust), ignition (heat or spark), oxygen (air), dispersion
(dust suspension) and confinement. Removal of any one element will
eliminate the possibility of occurrence. But far too often, this is not
the case, sometimes with fatal consequences.


While OSHA has been following this issue for approximately 10 years,
it recently has begun inspecting and fining companies for improper
combustible dust exposure and possible hazards. In doing so, it has been
citing the standards put forth by the National Fire Protection Agency
(NFPA).


The NFPA, an International Codes and Standards Organization, creates
voluntary consensus standards and provides guidelines for preventing
combustible dust explosions. Those most applicable to the woodworking
industry include: NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and
Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, and the
soon-to-be-released NFPA 652: Standard on Combustible Dust.


Prevention Methods


While commonsense, housekeeping is one of the most important things a
facility can do to control wood dust buildup. One of the most important
things any facility can do is fully engage in housekeeping and fugitive
dust control, said Jamison Scott, executive vice president of Air
Handling. If the underlying surface colors of a machine, for example,
are not readily discernible, there could be a dust deflagration hazard.


However, he cautioned, refrain from blowing the dust off with an air
gun. That simply releases and stratifies the dust. Instead, use a
vacuum. Then determine the source of escaping dust and repair it. For
example, ensure all ductwork is airtight.


In addition to housekeeping, other steps for prevention include:
Hazard Recognition/Assessment; Building Design & Engineering
Controls; Administrative Controls; and Worker Training.


Hazard Recognition/Assessment includes determining if dust is
combustible. This can be done via Dust Explosion Testing, which may
include a Particle Size and Moisture Analysis, Explosion Severity Test,
which tests the Kst value and Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC).
Hazard Recognition/Assessment also covers issues related to NFPA as well
as state and local codes.


Building Design & Engineering Controls cover “fixed structures
that are built into a facility or processing equipment designed to
remove or minimize a hazard.” Building design focuses on preventing
fugitive dust accumulation on beams and other flat surfaces, including
rectangular shaped ductwork and flat surfaced lighting fixtures.
Engineering controls focus on the equipment, such as dust collection
systems or prevention devises such as spark detection in dust collectors
and ductwork, and explosion venting and suppression systems.


Documentation, is one of the most important components of
Administrative Controls. Agencies, such as OSHA, require written rules
and procedures to ensure policies are fully understood and practiced by
employees. In addition, various NFPA Standards have detailed proper
methods for operating procedures, inspections, testing and maintenance
procedures as well as training.


Who’s in Charge


The following is a list of some of the agencies and organizations involved in monitoring dust hazards in the woodshop.


OSHA: Since currently there is no specific standard
related to Combustible Dust, the General Duty Clause is being cited for
these violations, referencing NFPA as a resource.


Congress: Tired of waiting for OSHA to create a standard, Congress
has begun introducing legislation to regulate combustible dust. The most
recent has been H.R. 691, the Worker Protection Against Combustible
Dust Explosions and Fires Act of 2013.


NFPA: Creates voluntary consensus standards used by OSHA, AHJ, Business Owner and other related parties.


AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction): This includes
the fire marshal, building inspector, or any other local, state, or
federal inspector having jurisdiction over your facility.


Insurance Company: The FM Global data sheet 7-76
Prevention and Mitigation of Combustible Dust lists “Woodworking” as the
greatest number of “Losses by Industry” and “Dust Collectors” as
highest number of “Losses by Equipment Type.”


Business Owner: Ultimately the owner has the
responsibility to protect workers and the business, by using these and
any other appropriate and relevant resources.


Employee: Worker training is of utmost importance for safety and the prevention of workplace incidents.
- See more at:
http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/woodworking-industry-management/woodshop-safety-regulations/How-to-Prevent-Comdust-298367761.html?view=all#sthash.EvkCBJvr.dpuf