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Was Extra Fine Wood Dust Factor in Mill Fires and Explosions? | Woodworking Network

From Woodworking Network

Was Extra Fine Wood Dust Factor in Mill Fires and Explosions? By Bill Esler
October 10, 2015 | 8:17 pm EDT



Aerial photograph of the east side of the Babine sawmill. The large yellow arrow indicates the easterly direction of the explosion’s  expansion from the point of origin. Source: WorkSafeBC incident  report, January 2012.



BURNABY, BC - A
trend to finer wood dust - resulting from dryer beetle killed wood and finer-kerf saw blades - may have contributed to a series of fires and plant explosions in British Columbia mills and wood products factories.


A 2012 internal memo from WorkSafeBC, released through a Freedom of Information request, also predicted industry resistance to wood dust control rules  "if an enforcement strategy is pursued at this time."


WorkSafeBC circulated an internal document stating the agency was
concerned that an enforcement strategy to address wood dust in sawmills
would lead to industry pushback, according to t…

Controlling Combustible Dust in Your Plant

Image
FromPowder/Bulk Solids
Four Steps to Control Combustible Dust in Your Plant




Hi-Vac manifold piping system to help clean up chips and cuttings from machine centers





According to the Spring 2015 Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs report, combustible dust explosions have been an OSHA focus for years. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board reported in late 2006 that 199 workers had died in 2005 alone as a result of combustible dust events. OSHA has increasingly focused on how to prevent explosions caused by combustible dust. Together with the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA published a bulletin in November 2014 titled, “Combustible Dust in Industry: Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Fire and Explosions.”

According to the bulletin, there are three components of a dust explosion, and those are dust, an ignition source (usually heat), and oxygen in the air that helps the fire spread rapidly. Together with
hazard assessment, OSHA suggests in the bulletin that tactics like improving ve…