Thursday, June 30, 2016

OSHA, NFPA to Progress on Combustible Dust Standards

From Powder/Bulk Solids

OSHA, NFPA to Progress on Combustible Dust Standards

June 28, 2016

2016 could be a major year for combustible dust standards.

In June, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) starts its first revision cycle of NFPA 652, the organization’s newly introduced combustible dust standard for general industry. Later this fall, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is preparing to hold a panel examining impacts of a proposed OSHA
combustible dust standard on small businesses – the first major event in its combustible dust rulemaking process to be scheduled since 2010.

This year, the level of interest and the character of comments in the NFPA’s 652 revision process and OSHA’s proposed panel could significantly shape discussions on - and development of - both entities’ combustible dust activities in 2017 and beyond.
To read Powder & Bulk Solids' exlusive feature on combustible dust standards in 2016, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to Prevent Industrial Fires

An old article, but well worth reading...

 From Occupational Hazards, November 1996, page 44

How to Prevent Industrial Fires

Use a three-phase accident investigation process to identify basic causes and take corrective action.

Nov 1, 1996
Fires and explosions needlessly kill and injure employees and damage billions of dollars worth of property and goods every year. Here are steps you can take to keep your business from going up in smoke.

William Fries admits he was shocked. Fries, director, property services, Loss Prevention Department, Liberty Mutual Group, thought he had seen and heard it all during his time with the company, but this was a new one.

During a routine inspection, he asked a safety director at a pulp and paper mill if it had a frequency problem with fires. He was relieved to hear that the company had never had a big fire.

His happiness was short-lived as the safety director went on to explain that once a week, a certain machine would cause a dust explosion, a small flash fire. The safety director tried to reassure Fries, telling him that the vigilant machine operator had a garden hose standing by and he "takes care of it."

"What if the operator was on break? What if he went to lunch or the bathroom when the flash fire occurred? That small controllable fire could take the entire plant down," said Fries, his voice rising with disbelief. "Those kinds of stories really shake me up."

Experts agree that there is no such beast as a fireproof facility. Too many elements are involved to make those kinds of claims. A host of factors -- building design and materials, machinery, wiring, fire suppression systems, emergency response programs, alarm systems, inspection and testing of fire response equipment and systems, chemicals on site, training, housekeeping, end products -- can work alone or combine to impact on fire resistance and prevention. But there are a number of ways, said Fries, to avoid courting disaster like the safety director at the pulp and paper mill.

Protection and Prevention

Protection ensures that a minor event, a small containable fire in a trash can, for example does not turn into a catastrophic event which can devastate a business, the lives of workers and a community. Prevention ensures that the trash can fire does not ignite in the first place.

Fries cites one example of such an event: An electric eraser used by drafters at one company was stored in such a way that the nose of the eraser pressed against the side of the drawer. The contact caused the eraser to switch on and vibrate. The constant friction caused the eraser to overheat and
start a fire which spread throughout the room, fueled by the stacks of papers and plans used by the drafters.

"If that eraser had been properly stored, that fire would never have occurred," noted Fries. "Fires usually start small. Processes become so familiar that the workers lose respect for them, become a little bit careless, and that's all it takes."

The answer, said Fries, is prevention. Experts focus on several aspects of prevention -- good housekeeping, good work habits, employee training and workplace inspection -- as ways to avoid minor events and major catastrophes. According to figures from Factory Mutual, three-fifths of
fires and nearly three-fourths of property damage could be avoided through preventive maintenance and frequent inspection and testing of equipment and electrical systems; taking proper safety precautions during maintenance operations; and using caution around open flames.

"Many of the fires we've responded to were due to inadequate work practices -- such as cutting and welding operations without a fire watch [keeping a close watch on an area in which hot work has been conducted for several hours after the work has been completed]. Others were at areas which
weren't cleaned up, did not have flammables and combustibles properly stored or had grease or oil-soaked floors," said Scott Dornen, a fire chief at Atlantic Richfield Co.'s (ARCO) Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, facility and a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

According to Dornen, such incidents at his location have declined in recent years due to several factors. At the height of construction on the Alaska pipeline, ARCO had as many as 120 contractor companies on site, all with different safety policies and procedures. Many of those companies are
gone, and with less construction and fewer operations and employees, the opportunities for fires and explosions have diminished.

"It's the difference between the number of fires in a city of 100,000 people versus a city of 1 million people," noted Dornen.

He added that many of the companies with which ARCO now contracts have improved their maintenance, inspection and housekeeping, in part because of the high standards ARCO maintains for its own operations.

For example, before new facilities are constructed at ARCO or a new process undertaken, the building plans go through an extensive design review which includes the use of a 1-to-24 inch scale model. All engineering controls to prevent and protect against fire and explosion are examined.

Dornen helps review the layout of fixed protection, such as sprinkler and alarm systems, to make sure it is more than adequate to meet the challenges of the operations planned for that facility. The scale models help Dornen and the safety department, with whom he closely works, look for things like blocked emergency exits, dead-end aisles and walkways, locations of storage areas for chemicals and inventory which are away from potential ignition sources, and emergency escape routes. Through
the use of such models, they can also examine the placement of fire walls and doors to make sure that fires can be contained in specific areas.

Building in Fire Safety

In addition to planning fire safety into the design of new facilities and processes, experts suggest a close evaluation of the materials used to construct new buildings and/or maintain older ones. Determining the fire protection factors for buildings and materials can seem daunting, but
James Martin, a property team leader with the Loss Control Group, ITT Hartford Group, notes that many business insurers are willing to advise their clients about fire prevention and protection.

He offers up this list of questions that safety professionals, building engineers and emergency response personnel need to be able to answer about their workplace:

  • What are the structural building materials?
  • Are the walls, ceilings and floors, furniture, floor coverings and window treatments fire-resistant?
  • Do they meet or exceed current NFPA, Underwriters Laboratories and industry standards, as well as state and federal codes?
  • Are the fire suppression systems adequate to meet the needs of the facility and the potential hazards?
  • Is the local water supply adequate to meet the needs of the sprinkler system and emergency responders?
  • Are there adequate, properly marked emergency exits?
  • Are there fire walls and doors to prevent or slow the spread of fire from one area to the next?

Other suggestions from Martin include: surveying employees to make sure they know what to do in case of fire; having a yearly training session which includes employees and emergency responders from the facility and community; asking contractors about their loss control practices and using contractors who have demonstrated safe work practices; and not only inspecting sprinklers and alarms weekly, but also testing them on a regular basis.

"I've seen situations where the water supply was shut off at the street, but the sprinklers still showed water pressure on the inside valves. Anyone inspecting that system would think it was working. If they tested it, they would discover there was no water," said Martin.

He said that alarm systems should be hooked up to emergency generators as well as the central power source. It's not inconceivable that in a fire or other emergency situation, the main electrical system would shut down.

He also suggested using extreme caution when conducting maintenance operations which involve
drilling holes in ceilings and floors. Any pipe chases which travel between floors must be properly sealed with a fire retardant material. Otherwise, they provide a perfect opportunity for a fire to jump from floor to floor and engulf an entire building.

Finally, said Martin, get upper management involved and proactive about fire safety. If management focuses attention and resources on fire prevention and proactive maintenance, employees will understand that fire safety, good maintenance and housekeeping are important parts of their jobs.

The True Cost of Fire

While no one wants to suffer through a fire, management might balk at some of the expenses associated with fire prevention and protection, cautioned experts. The cost of emergency response drills, building scale models, providing employee training, purchasing state-of-the-art fire protection
systems and materials for new buildings and retrofitting older buildings with fire suppression systems can be high. But experts agree that it is money well spent.

Figures from the National Fire Protection Association show that each year, some 85,000 fires occur in the workplace, causing an annual average of 89 deaths to employees and customers and a whopping $1.856 billion in direct property damage. And that does not take indirect costs, which can
double or triple the damage amount, into consideration.

"The cost of a fire or explosion is much greater than the dollar amount of the damage," explained Mark Blank, engineering team leader, Factory Mutual System, Chicago. "Imagine a group of sales people about to sign a big production deal who are left hanging because the production line
had to shut down as a result of a fire and they can't promise a delivery date. It could take years to build back the business that is lost when buyers turn to other suppliers."

He said that he has seen more than one corporation relocate operations from burned-out facilities to other facilities rather than rebuild, and has seen companies take insurance payments and rebuild in other cities or states where the costs of doing business are lower.

"I've seen companies with only one facility go out of business because between the lost business and production downtime and the amount of the loss which they couldn't recover through insurance, they couldn't afford to rebuild. Plus, mortgage bills and tax bills keep coming in, even when production is stopped," said Blank.

By all means, said Blank, purchase insurance. But, he added, the best insurance is prevention.

"The U.S. has the highest fire incidence rate of any country in the world and the smallest regard for fire. We tell kids not to play with fire and matches, but as adults, we seem to forget why it's a bad idea. It's sad because fires would not occur if people would just take the time to take precautions to prevent them," he said.


Not all fire prevention strategies involve expensive equipment or extensive remodeling.

According to Lawrence Oldendorf, who has 40 years experience in fire protection and prevention and is president of Fire and Safety Engineering Services, Burbank, Ill., one of the least expensive and most effective ways to prevent fires is through good housekeeping techniques.

According to him, as many as 90 percent of all fires are caused or fueled by unneeded combustibles. While combustibles can include oil-soaked rags and trash, it goes much further than that.

"Extra packing boxes stored in the wrong place -- close to ignition sources -- are combustibles. Chemicals stored near work areas instead of in flame-and explosion-resistant drums and cabinets are combustibles," said Oldendorf. "Bottles of alcohol stored on every desk in a cleanroom are

He noted that while it is easier to store bottles of cleaners and chemicals close to work sites, it is a dangerous practice. It is also dangerous to store containers of flammable, reactive and explosive chemicals in shipping cartons, unless the containers or cartons are flame-resistant. "Storage boxes are inexpensive and storage cabinets can be expensive," said Oldendorf, "but the cost of a fire is much more expensive."

To cut down on costs, he suggests keeping extra inventory of flammables to a minimum. Less storage space is needed, said Oldendorf, and potential fuel sources for a fire are decreased.

Other suggestions from Oldendorf include:
  • Clean up oil and chemical spills immediately, and keep work areas free of any extra paper, boxes or rags.
  • Don't string electrical cords across floors or walkways where they can be  stepped on and frayed, opening your facility up to the possibility of an electrical fire.
  • De-energize machinery before any maintenance  work is started and thoroughly inspect that equipment before the power  is turned back on.
  • Keep tools which cause friction or sparks away from areas where explosive and flammable materials are present.
  • If temporary scaffolding or partitions are erected, make sure they are  metal or made with materials treated with flame retardants.
  • Use a temporary sprinkler system in areas where hot work is being conducted or for areas being used to temporarily store flammable materials.
  • Train employees in the various sounds made by the alarm system and what action they need to take when an alarm sounds.
  • Invite outside emergency responders into the facility and educate them about  hazards. Have an emergency plan in place and conduct a full-fledged  emergency response drill at least once a year.
  • Routinely inspect and test fire extinguishers and check that all exit and  direction signs provide correct information, are in place and are  well-lit even during a power outage.


Hot work is the cause of hundreds of industrial fires annually. Most are quickly contained. Some fires snuff themselves out before employees even know they occurred, while others destroy facilities and ruin lives.

Mark Blank, engineering team leader at Factory Mutual System's Chicago office, said that the biggest challenge he faces is making people understand the concept of "hot" work.

"People don't have fires every day. They think that it won't happen to them, that they don't do anything which could contribute to a fire," said Blank.

What they don't understand is that any time they have open flames, sparks or hot surfaces, they
have a potential fire hazard. Cutting torches, propane torches, welding and grinding operations, portable drills and internal combustion engines are all ignition sources. Throw in some fuel, wood, paper, rags, oil, chemicals, alcohol, gasoline, and it is a fire waiting to happen, said Blank.

"A cutting torch can reach 2,000 degrees. That's plenty hot to ignite just about anything," he commented.

Any time a maintenance operation involving cutting, grinding or welding is undertaken, he suggests conducting a step-by-step review of the process.

First, look for alternatives. Does a joint have to be welded or can it be bolted? Does a bolt have to be drilled out or can it be cut off using hydraulic shears?

If alternatives do not exist, take the operation to another area whenever possible, one which is outside the facility or in an isolated area away from fuel sources and employees.

If the operation cannot be moved, don't allow the process to be conducted until a permit is issued which verifies that the location of the work has been properly prepared.

Preparation for hot work is extensive, noted Blank. A 35-foot distance is needed between the hot work and combustibles. Anything which cannot be moved should be covered with a welding tarp. If the work is being conducted in a building made of materials which can burn, then the walls, floors and possibly ceilings in the area need to be covered or treated with flame retardants.

Check that pipe chases are properly sealed so that sparks cannot fall between floors and ceilings or back in walls. Many types of dust can burn or explode; eliminate or clean dust hazards before beginning hot work. If the work is conducted in a room with an operation involving flammable liquids, remove any containers of flammables and purge all equipment of traces of flammable liquid.

"You have to understand that you are bringing a very hazardous operation into a place not suited for it," said Blank, comparing it to lighting a cigarette in a dynamite factory.

Once the hot work is completed, the work is not over. At least one person needs to be designated as a fire watch. He or she stands guard over the area for an hour to watch for smoke or flames; makes sure that no flammables are brought back into the area; and checks that the area remains closed off
until the threat of a stray spark or flame has passed. The area should continue to be closely monitored -- inspected every 20 minutes or so -- for an additional 3 hours. For that reason, Blank suggests doing hot work at the beginning of the day or at the beginning of shifts. He also suggests assigning an employee to be a fire watch even if the work is conducted by an outside contractor.

"An outside contractor might be very competent in his line of work, but not very knowledgeable about fire protection and hazards at the facility. The contractor might have different priorities and might just think that it's costing him money to have one of his people stand watch rather than work on another job," said Blank. He said he encourages building owners to retain the responsibility for providing a fire watch and permitting the area for hot work.

"People don't understand the risk that exists. It might take less time to take a cutting torch to a pipe, but there is a much greater potential exposure. You have to ask: Is it safe? If the answer is no, then don't do it," counseled Blank.


In the event of fire, response needs to be safe and speedy.

Employees should be trained to do the following:
  • Count the number of doors, machines or desks between their work areas and the nearest exit. During a fire, they might need to find their way out in  the dark.
  • Learn the location of alternative exits from all work areas.
  • Know the location of the nearest fire alarm and learn how to use it.
  • Post emergency phone numbers on or near all phones.
  • Be sure that someone in authority knows about any disability that could delay an escape and makes plans for a safe evacuation.
Employers must:
  • Post building evacuation plans and discuss them during new-employee orientations.
  • Conduct regular fire drills.
  • Include disabled employees in the fire emergency planning process.
  • Train designated employees in the use of portable fire extinguishers and designate employees who will help evacuate fire scenes.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Occupational Hazards, November 1996, page 44

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Archived Safety and Combustible Dust Webinars

For your viewing pleasure: Archived Webinars - DEKRA Insight

An excellent webinar on the new NFPA 652 Standard:

NFPA 652 - Dust Hazard Analysis
Join DEKRA Insight’s David Kaelin for an insightful look into NFPA 652. This webinar will provide management and supervisors with the insight necessary to complete a dust hazard analysis and identify those areas within the equipment, operations, processes, and activities that could lead to dust explosions.
View the webinar - presented by David Kaelin

Auditing: The Importance of Being Effective and Efficient with Your Audit Management

This webinar discusses the impact effective audit management has on safety functioning. We share practical tools and knowledge that you can apply in your organization.
View the webinar

Requirements for a Robust Basis of Safety

This webinar outlines the generic procedure to ensure that safety measures are reliably specified and that adequate process safety data is available on which the Basis of Safety is founded.
View the webinar - presented by Stephen Rowe

Top Ten Myths on Ignition Sources

Situations in which ignition sources are inadequately controlled are still frequently identified despite the introduction of European regulations for explosive atmospheres This webinar focuses on the things the plant personnel really need to know about ignition sources.
View the webinar - presented by John Butcher

The Prevention of Accidental Workplace Fires and Explosions

Every day a fire or explosion breaks out in an industrial setting somewhere in the world. The yearly cost to companies is in the billions, and the risk of injury or even death is very real. In this webinar, we explore the technical, management and leadership issues you need to know to prevent an explosion or fire.
View the webinar - presented by Lisa Hutto

Safety Analytics: Turning Data Into Insight

This webinar uncovers the attributes of a robust analytics approach to safety, looks at common analytics methods and the information it can uncover, and offers a prescription for improving the quality and precision of safety decision-making and action.
View the US webinar - presented by Greg Robinson and Gennifer Lyon
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Jozef Creemers and Gennifer Lyon
View the AU webinar - presented by Ellen Downs and Gennifer Lyon

Best Practices to Making the Most Out of Your Incident Reporting System

This webinar provides a discussion of why some incident investigation processes succeed while others go astray. We share practical tools and knowledge that you can apply in your organization.
View the US webinar - presented by Carey Bennett

Safety Leadership Essentials: From Assessment to Safety Roadmap

Join DEKRA Insight’s Rob Sheers as he presents and discusses strategies designed to successfully transition organizations from the assessment stage of an initiative through implementation—so you get where you want to be the first time, with as few setbacks as possible.
View the AU webinar - presented by Rob Sheers

Measuring Process Safety Performance

If you want to improve reliability, profitability and safety, then measuring process safety performance is for you. Whether you operate a major hazards site or are sub-CoMAH, this webinar appraises the different approaches in developing and selecting performance indicators and gives recommendation on the most effective approach.
View the UK webinar - presented by Wahid Azizi

Applying Scenarios to Strengthen Safety Performance

In this webinar we discuss how high performance companies are applying scenario-based learning to strengthen situational decision making, develop safety leadership, and sustain great results.
View the US webinar - presented by Jim Spigener

The Principles that Produce Effective Safety Data Management Systems

In this webinar we discuss guiding principles for effective safety data management systems and what they’ve learned from practical application.
View the US webinar - presented by Carey Bennett and Ron Demaray

Process Safety Competency: What, and how much, do you need to know – and how do you get it

A topical challenge for industrial companies, especially those involved in hazardous materials processing, is how to demonstrate adequate competence in process safety across their organisation. This granulates further into “what do you need to know, to what level, in what position?” This webinar explores these challenges and provides ideas on demystifying the process.
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Stephen Rowe

The Impact of Bias on Process Safety Outcomes

In this webinar we explore how bias can cause employees to underestimate risk or overestimate systems’ capabilities to control Process Safety exposures.
View the US webinar - presented by Robert Gaither and Luis Sanchez
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Sebastian Blair and Stephen Rowe

Update from the Field: Key Elements for an Effective SIF Prevention Strategy

This webinar discusses nine inter-related initiatives emerging as central elements to any effective fatality prevention strategy. We explore efforts to mitigate SIF precursors.
View the US webinar - presented by Don Martin
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Filip Coumans and Mariska Mulder

Improving Human Reliability in Safety: Brain-Centric Solutions

In this webinar, Susan L Koen, PhD, discusses how new insights from neuroscience are being applied to improve operational reliability in the workplace. This webinar expands your understanding of the error mechanisms in the human brain and the impact of fatigue on brain functioning.
View the US webinar - presented by Susan Koen
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Susan Koen

Assessment to Safety Roadmap – Getting It Right the First Time

In this webinar we examine the ways organizations have successfully transitioned from the assessment stage of an initiative to create a realistic roadmap for safety improvement.
View the webinar - presented by James Grant

What Your Safety Data Should Be Telling You

In this webinar we touch on all aspects of the data collection, integration, analysis, and presentation processes that must come together to yield valuable insight for leadership.
View the US webinar - presented by Don Groover and Mike Mangan
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Martin Dean and Mike Mangan

Behaviour-Based Safety for Performance Improvement

In this webinar, we discuss the people side of safety and what organisations can do to support the right behaviours all the time. We present the critical success factors for performance improvement and examine the key attributes of a mature safety process—one that is not just seasoned but thriving.
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Adam Jones and Ruud Kist

Right People, Right Place: Getting and Growing Great Safety Talent

In this webinar we discuss the challenges of getting and growing world class safety talent, and suggest practices for leaders to build a strong safety talent pool.
View the US webinar - presented by Erika Gwilt
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Marcelino Arias

How to Engage Employees in Addressing High-Potential Risks and Exposures

In this webinar we introduce the SIF Interview and Observation process and its components, helping your organization address high-potential risks and exposures while maintaining momentum on existing safety efforts.
View the US webinar - presented by Kathy Culig
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Ian Stewart and Jos Creemers

Can I Learn Transformational Leadership from the Military?

In this webinar we present a few transformational leadership examples used by the military and show you how to apply it to leadership development in your own organization.
View the webinar

Developing Transformational Safety Leaders to Build Great Cultures

Learn what transformational leadership really looks like and specifically, which behaviours and actions leaders can model to develop great safety cultures.
View the webinar - presented by Seb Blair and Adam Jones

Do No Harm: Handling Safety Incidents with Care, Skill, and Leadership

Effective incident handling is a hallmark of top safety performers. Yet, many leaders struggle to handle incidents in a way that promotes the organisation’s highest safety goals. When an employee is hurt: What do you say? What do you do—and in what order?
View the webinar - presented by Filip Coumans

Discipline and Punishment: Are They the Same Thing?

In this webinar, safety experts outline the principles and practices leaders can use to develop an effective disciplinary system and improve organizational safety performance.
View the webinar - presented by Jim Spigener

Motivating for Safety: Critical Practices to Ensure Employees Stay Engaged

Why aren’t people rallying around safety? In this webinar safety experts tackle the issue of motivation, and suggest practices for leaders to engage employees in safety improvement.
View the webinar - presented by Patrick McCorry, BST and Forrest Lauher, Western Refining

Talking About Exposure: Using Conversations to Enhance Safety Readiness

In this webinar, we outline an approach to enhancing safety performance using scenario-based learning. We will inspire you with real-life examples of how focused conversations can enhance safety readiness, and we will outline the key elements to help you get there.
View the US webinar - presented by Jim Spigener
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Filip Coumans

Breaking Clouded Judgments: The Role of Bias in Safety

BST experts discuss bias and its impact in safety, and suggest strategies for avoiding the errors cognitive biases can create in reducing accidents in the workplace.
View the US webinar - presented by Mike Mangan
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Guy Boyd and Seb Blair

Why Don't People Follow the Rules? Compliance vs. Commitment

BST experts discuss organizational safety and how creating a culture of commitment helps reduce injuries in the workplace. Focusing on building a robust culture is the first step to developing an environment where people not only follow the rules, but live them.
View the US webinar - presented by Erika Gwilt
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Guy Boyd and Adam Jones

Improving Safety Program Execution – A Key to Excellent Performance

Scott Stricoff, President, discusses program design and implementation as the key components to successful program execution. Developing safety programs and initiatives is only the first small step; results come when an organization excels at safety program execution.
View the webinar - presented by Scott Stricoff

5 Steps for Removing Your SIF Exposure Blind Spot: How to Detect
Serious Injury and Fatality (SIF) Potential in Your Organization

BST experts introduce five steps to developing a measure of SIF potential to help organizations bring visibility to SIF exposures and eliminate a common safety “blind spot.”
View the US webinar - presented by Don Martin
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Filip Coumans and Stuart Johnson

Creating Engagement at the Frontline: Leveraging 5 Supervisor Safety Activities

BST's safety experts introduce five supervisor safety activities that when demonstrated consistently and effectively, improve employee engagement.
View US webinar - presented by Mike Mangan
View EMEA webinar - presented by Filip Coumans and Jos Creemers

Developing Great Safety Cultures in the Food and Beverage Industry

Patrick McCorry, Vice President and Jim Spigener, Senior Vice President discuss how organizations can develop and manage strong safety cultures through the actions of their leaders.
View the webinar - presented by Patrick McCorry and Jim Spigener

Leveraging Culture to Improve Process Safety Management

Greg Robinson, Vice President and Kathy Culig, Principal Consultant explore how organizations can enhance their process safety management systems through the actions of their leaders.
View the webinar - presented by Greg Robinson and Kathy Culig

Addressing the Safety Discipline Dilemma

BST safety experts discuss the discipline dilemma in organizations today; the impact discipline systems have on culture and performance; and the most effective ways to achieve consistent conformance to rules and procedures while building a strong safety culture.
View the US webinar – presented by Scott Stricoff
View the EMEA webinar – presented by Filip Coumans

Moments of Truth: The Five Critical Safety Activities Every Mining Supervisor Must Do Well

Michael Hajaistron and Ellen Downs discuss key safety activities for supervisors; how these activities are directly related to the leadership practices that drive safety; and how organizations can use safety leadership as a means to improve overall supervisor effectiveness.
View the webinar - presented by Michael Hajaistron and Ellen Downs

How Great Leaders Become Great Safety Leaders

BST’s safety experts discuss how great leaders become great safety leaders by identifying safety as a value, making the connection between safety and an emotional commitment, and addressing how to effectively communicate and act on that commitment.
View the US webinar - presented by Jim Spigener
View the EMEA webinar - presented by Guy Boyd and Martin Dean

Engaging Supervisors for Safety Excellence

BST President Scott Stricoff discusses key safety activities for supervisors; how these activities are directly related to the leadership practices that drive safety; and how organizations can use safety leadership as a means to improve overall supervisor effectiveness.
View the webinar - presented by Scott Stricoff

Incident Investigation: A Paradigm Shift

BST Senior Vice President Don Groover discusses the limitations of this current paradigm and the need to shift our thinking around incident investigation. Learn why safety experts are now looking into the identification of exposure potential and reliance on longitudinal analysis to reduce injuries, and how this new model can benefit your organization.
View the webinar - presented by Don Groover

How Leaders Should Deal with 5 Key Safety Issues Currently Affecting the Utility Industry

BST Vice President Tim Hoover and Executive Consultant Curtis Davis (retired senior executive from Duke, Allegheny, and First Energy) discuss five key safety issues facing utilities executives today and proactive ways leaders can personally and positively affect outcomes.
View the webinar - presented by Tim Hoover

Monday, June 27, 2016

Everything you need to know about NFPA 652

From ACS Blog:

Everything you need to know about NFPA 652

Posted by on
June 24, 2016
Everything you need to know about NFPA 652
It’s finally here, the panacea of combustible dust control.

We’re talking about NFPA 652: Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust. 

The new standard sets out to be the single, go-to source for handling combustible dusts, no matter what industry you’re in, or where you live in the world.

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) announced the standard’s release at the American Industrial Hygiene conference and exposition (AIHce) on May 25, 2016 after its approval on September 7, 2015.

The NFPA published the new standard as an answer to a lack of understanding of what combustible dust hazards are, and to smooth out some inconsistent guidelines in their existing commodity-specific

The new standards apply to all logistics and facilities involved with handling or producing combustible dusts and combustible particulate solids. They give straightforward guidelines on when to use commodity-specific standards, and when to use the shared standards.

Here’s a breakdown of what the standard includes, and how it will work for your industry.

The three fundamental principles

NFPA 652 promotes awareness of the three following fundamental principles:

  1. Controlling the fuel
  2. Controlling the ignition sources
  3. Limiting the spread of any combustion event
This means ensuring that you are reducing the number of factors from the dust explosion pentagon, and installing the proper equipment to reduce the effects of an explosion, if one should happen.

Techniques for your Dust Hazard Analysis

Under NFPA 652, a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) is mandatory for all new and existing facilities that handle, generate, store or process combustible dusts.

The DHA determines what the risks are of a potential fire or explosion based on the type of combustible dust or particulate solid in the facility and its processes. It also defines ways to prevent or mitigate dust hazards and accidents, and gives recommendations for training those involved about their workplace hazards.

For existing facilities, the DHA is required within three years of the standard’s release in September 2015.

The DHA is not the same as a Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) needed for refineries or chemical manufacturing. The PHA is a more rigorous analysis and it isn’t necessary for all industries.

There are several testing methods that you can apply for your DHA:

What commodity specific codes are covered?

The standard overlaps with some of the existing commodity specific standards:
  • NFPA 61: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities
  • NFPA 484: Standard for Combustible Metals
  • NFPA 654: Standard for the Prevention of Fire and
    Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of
    Combustible Particulate Solids
  • NFPA 655: Standard for Prevention of Sulfur Fires and Explosions
  • NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities
New 2017 editions of NFPA 61, 652 and 664 standards have already been issued electronically, and the remaining commodity specific standards are set to be updated in following years. NFPA 652 also points to explosion prevention standards NFPA 67: Guide on Explosion Protection for Gaseous Mixtures in Pipe Systems, NFPA 68: Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting and NFPA 69: Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems.

When commodity specific NFPA standards prohibit a new requirement set out in NFPA 652, you should follow the pre-existing prohibitive rule in the commodity-specific standard.

How can I make my plant NFPA 652 compliant?

There are two compliance options outlined in NFPA 652:
  • Prescriptive Compliance where facilities follow pre-existing steps to take to meet their goal of complying with NFPA 652.
  • Performance-Based Compliance where facilities begin with the goal of complying with NFPA 652 and adjust their method throughout the adjustment process.
Redesigning entire facilities is not mandatory under NFPA 652, but it is a requirement to conduct employee training and perform proper housekeeping duties.

You might also be interested in:

For more information on combustible dust, NFPA compliance, and keeping your facilities safe, tune into Megan Thompson’s Webinar: NFPA safety: It’s not just about the airlock here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

NFPA Journal - Credible Risk, March April 2015

NFPA Journal - Credible Risk, March April 2015

Author(s): Guy Colonna. Published on March 2, 2015.

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 2003 and 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.

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Grain dust was blamed for an explosion at an animal feed facility in Omaha, Nebrask, 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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Purdue Offers Courses on Dust Explosion Prevention

From Powder/Bulk Solids

Purdue Offers Courses on Dust Explosion Prevention

Purdue University Extension is offering three workshops
this summer on the prevention of grain dust combustion and explosions
for workers at grain handling facilities.

Funded by a grant from the US Department of Labor's Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the sessions will focus on
handling and unloading grain, engineering controls, and industrial
hazards. Participants will also observe a demonstration of a grain dust
explosion. Those who successfully complete the workshops are awarded a

"On average, there are 10 grain dust explosions every year in the
United States, causing damage, injury, and death," said Kingsley
Ambrose, assistant professor in Purdue's department of agricultural and
biological engineering. "Our goal is to raise awareness of the perils of
grain dust explosion and reduce this number."

Ambrose is a co-presenter of the workshops with Chad Martin, a
specialist from Purdue Extention. The workshops are intended for
individuals, but customized training sessions through Purdue Extention
are available for large grain handling facilities and businesses.

"Our participants will be able to identify active steps to mitigate
immediate threats, improve their knowledge of dust reduction methods,
and better understand the combustion and explosion potential of dust,"
said Martin.

The workshops take place:

  • June 22, 3-8 pm EDT, Northeast-Purdue Agricultural Center, 4821 E. 400 S, Columbia City, IN

  • June 27, 1-5 pm EDT, Southern Indiana Purdue Agricultural Center, 11371 E. Purdue Farm Road, Dobois, IN

  • Aug. 17, 1-5 pm CDT, Jasper County Fair Fairgrounds, 2671 W. Clark St., Rensselaer, IN
For more information, contact Chad Martin at

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

NFPA Combustible Dust Standard Now in Place

US combustible dust standard now in place

31 May 2016

According to OHS Online, the US National Fire Protection Association’s new combustible dust standard, NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, is now in effect. It is the latest in a series of NFPA standards that apply to combustible dusts after 61, 484, 654, 655, and 664, and includes the important new requirement of dust hazard analysis.


This was announced at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition (AIHce) 2016 event in Baltimore, OHS Online reported.  Susan Berhad, the NFPA staff liaison for the combustible dust project, made the announcement during a May 25 presentation on the standard at the event.

The 652 standard sets out three fundamental principles: controlling the fuel, controlling the ignition sources, and limiting the spread of any combustion event.

Redesigning facilities is not retroactive under the standard, Berhad said. But management of change, employee training, and housekeeping requirements all do apply retroactively. There are two compliance options, a prescriptive one and a performance-based one. A dust hazard analysis (DHA) is mandatory for existing processes and facilities within three years, she said.

More information...

From Occupational Health & Safety

NFPA Combustible Dust Standard Now in Place

An NFPA staff member provided an update on the new NFPA 652 standard during the AIHce 2016
meeting and said the association is moving toward a single combustible dust standard.

May 30, 2016
BALTIMORE -- The National Fire Protection Association's new combustible dust standard, NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, is now in effect. While it is the latest in a series of NFPA standards that apply to combustible dusts -- 61, 484, 654, 655, and 664 -- this
one, issued in August 2015, includes the important new requirement of dust hazard analysis, Susan Berhad, the association's staff liaison for the combustible dust project, said during a May 25  presentation on the standard at the AIHce 2016 meeting here.

She said 2017 editions of the 61, 652, and 664 standards have recently been issued, and the 652 standard includes a provision that points to the explosion prevention standards -- 67, 68, and 69. The 652 standard sets out three fundamental principles, which are controlling the fuel, controlling the ignition sources, and limiting the spread of any combustion event, she explained.

Redesigning facilities is not retroactive under the standard, Berhad said. But management of change, employee training, and housekeeping requirements all do apply retroactively. There are two compliance options, a prescriptive one and a performance-based one. A dust hazard analysis (DHA) is mandatory for existing processes and facilities within three years, she said, adding that there should be documentation for each of these required elements: responsible party, due date, tracking of redesign activities, date action items are closed out, how they were closed out, and recommendations rejected for cause (if any) and why they were rejected. "You keep your documentation for the life of the process -- you should do it," she added.

Common techniques that are useful in the DHA process include HAZOP (Hazard Operability Analysis), checklist analysis, what if/checklist analysis, FMEA (Failure Mode Effects Analysis), and layers of protection analysis.

And, while the 654 standard requires revalidation of a DHA every five years, that probably will be added to the other standards, including 652, for consistency, Berhad said.

Berhad said in the long term, NFPA envisions a single combustible dust standard. "The short answer is yes, someday. . . . It's going to take some time," she said.