Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quesnel mill explosion could have been deadly - British Columbia

From British Columbia - CBC News

Quesnel mill explosion could have been deadly

Dust may be factor in explosion and fire

By Betsy Trumpener, CBC News
Posted: Mar 10, 2016 4:48 PM PT
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2016 5:01 PM PT

Safety officials say a fire and explosion at West Fraser's WestPine MDF plant, Wednesday, could have been catastrophic.
Safety officials say a fire and explosion at West Fraser's WestPine MDF plant, Wednesday, could have been catastrophic. (Erika Steinson/Facebook)
A fire and explosion Wednesday at a Quesnel mill could have been catastrophic and deadly, says Al Johnson, Vice President of Prevention Field Services for WorkSafeBC.

Thirty workers inside West Fraser's WestPine MDF plant were evacuated safely.
It took crews almost five hours to put out the fire.

Potential for serious injuries, death

"There was the potential here for being catastrophic," said Johnson. "We're very fortunate there were no injuries. There was a potential for workers to be seriously injured or worse."

A critical incident response team was sent to Quesnel to offer emotional support.

"[The explosion] will resonate with people and possibly bring back memories of explosions in mills that have occurred in the past," said Johnson.

2012 mill explosions killed 4, injured 43 

Four B.C. mill workers were killed and 43 others seriously injured in 2012 after sawmill explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George just three months apart.

Investigators determined wood dust was to blame for the tragedies.

Johnson says wood dust could also be a factor in the most recent incident in Quesnel.

'Wood dust present'

There is wood dust present, so there may be an association. We haven't drawn any conclusions. - WorkSafeBC Vice President Al Johnson
"It's too early to say at this point, but obviously there's indicators this explosion and fire occurred in the fiber bin area.

It has four dust collection towers where there is wood dust present, so there may be an association," said Johnson. "But we haven't drawn any conclusions at this point."

Johnson says it's important to note the 2012 explosions occurred in sawmills, while the Quesnel mill produces medium density fibreboard.

"This mill has wood dust and wood fibres, like the sawmills. But it also uses high temperatures, high pressure chemicals."

"Without question, it was a major explosion and fire," said Quesnel mayor Bob Simpson who has worked in mill management.

Johnson says WorkSafe's investigation to determine what happened could take months.

Damage closes mill

In the meantime, West Fraser says the Quesnel mill will be closed until the damage to the WestPine MDF plant is fixed.

"The facility will not be operational for a period of time," said Tara Knight, a spokeswoman for West Fraser.

"Our employees remain employed and are needed to return the mill to operation. 

Betsy Trumpener is an award-winning journalist and author. She's been covering the news in central and northern British Columbia for more than 15 years.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

NFPA Hazard Rating System

NFPA Hazard Rating System from Northeastern University

NFPA Hazard Rating System

Northeastern University's laboratory doors are posted with emergency information to warn occupants
and The Boston Fire Department personnel of the presence and identification of hazardous materials inside each laboratory. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a system for
indicating the health, flammability, reactivity and special hazards for many common chemicals through use of the NFPA 704 Diamond. The hazard rating for the laboratory is determined by looking at all the chemicals, gases and special lab uses in the laboratory and coming up with a rating for each hazard category based on criteria established below.

Please read the rating information in each category, take an inventory of your laboratory and rate each category accordingly. To look up a rating for a particular chemical click on the link at the bottom
of the page. If you do not find the chemical listed, a review of the chemicals MSDS sheet may help you rate the chemical in question. To look up a chemicals MSDS click on the "MSDS" link at the bottom of the page.

If there are any questions regarding a chemical rating, please either email your question or call the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at x2769.

If you have a new laboratory or are a new Principal Investigator, please contact EHS:

Rating Summary


Use the most severe rating code regardless of volume.

Health (Blue) Detailed Description of Health Rating

4 Danger May be fatal on short exposure. Specialized protective equipment
3 Warning Corrosive or toxic. Avoid skin contact or inhalation
2 Warning May be harmful if inhaled or absorbed
1 Caution May be irritating

No unusual hazard


The greatest volume of one code determines the marking. The only exception is if a more severe code has a volume of 3 gallons or greater, then that code is used instead of a lower code of greater volume. If the laboratory total volume of flammables or combustibles is less than one pint for all, then the rating for the laboratory for this area shall be zero

Flammability (Red)Detailed
Description of Flammable Rating

4 Danger Flammable gas or extremely flammable liquid
3 Warning Flammable liquid flash point below 100°F
2 Caution Combustible liquid flash point of 100° to 200°F

Combustible if heated

Not combustible


Use the most severe rating code regardless of volume.

Reactivity (Yellow) Detailed
Description of Reactivity Rating

4 Danger Explosive material at room temperature
3 Danger May be explosive if shocked, heated under confinement or mixed
with water
2 Warning Unstable or may react violently if mixed with water
1 Caution May react if heated or mixed with water but not violently
0 Stable Not reactive when mixed with water

Special Information

Indicate the presence of the following regardless
of volume

Special Information Key
Detailed Description of Special Information Rating

Oxy Oxidizing Agent
W Water Reactive
G Compressed Gas
LN2 Liquid Nitrogen
LHE Liquid Helium

Special Signage Key (These are signs that
shall or must be posted in addition to the NFPA diamond)

LAS Laser
BL Biosafety Level
RAD Radioactive Material
X-Ray X-Ray Diffractometer
MAG Magnetic Fields
HVO High Voltage
NFPA Hazard Rating A - C
NFPA Hazard Rating D - I
NFPA Hazard Rating J - R
NFPA Hazard Rating S - Z
NFPA Rating Gases
NFPA Rating Rating - Text Version
Material Safety Data Sheets

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

LED technology reduces explosion risks

From ISHN Industrial Safety & Hygiene News

LED technology reduces explosion risks
The complex and hazardous nature of confined spaces
present numerous risks for workers. Because of this, many businesses that
operate in hazardous locations make use of explosion proof lights to prevent
the ignition of flammable gases and dust particles. This article discusses how
LED technology has contributed to the features of explosion proof lights by
making them more reliable, sturdy and cost-effective.

Click here for complete story

Industrial Ventilation Resources

Free IV/LEV resource

If you are looking for information on or specialize in Industrial Ventilation (Known as LEV in the UK) then you may be interested to know that there is a free to use resource

There is a growing library of resources, details of professional development, forum and suppliers directory. We hope you will find it a valuable resource.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

What is Industrial Safety?

Definition from Safeopedia

Definition - What does Industrial Safety mean?

Industrial safety in the context of occupational safety and health refers to the management of all operations and events within an industry, for protecting its employees and assets by minimizing hazards, risks, accidents and near misses. The relevant laws, compliance and best practices in the industry have most of the issues addressed for the best protection possible. Employers are to make sure that these are strictly adhered to to have maximum safety.

Safeopedia explains Industrial Safety

Industrial safety covers a number of issues and topics affecting safety of personnel and equipment in a particular industry. The following topics are generally discussed:
  • General Safety - General aspects of safety which are common to all
  • Occupational Safety and Health - Particularly associated with the occupation
  • Process and Production Safety - Safety in the process and production etc.
  • Material Safety - Safety of the materials used in the production
  • Workplace Safety - Safety issues directly related to the workplace
  • Fire Safety - Fire safety, in particular the risks associated to the industry
  • Electrical Safety - In general and in particular, arising from the equipment used
  • Building and Structural Safety - Safety in general including installations as per existing building code
  • Environmental Safety - Issues of environmental safety (direct or indirect impact of the industry)