Showing posts from December, 2012

Flashover: the Power of Fire

Top 5 most watched NFPA videos of 2012 - #4 - National Fire Protection Association Blog

From the top 5 watched NFPA videos of 2012, this video shows the power of fire, how quickly it can spread, and that you need to get out of the area to prevent getting caught in a flashover:

Top 5 most watched NFPA videos of 2012 - #4 As we mentioned in our last blog post, we are counting down the top 5 most popular NFPA videos of 2012. In case you missed it, check out the video that came in 5th place now.

The 4th place video of 2012 is "Flashover: the Power of Fire."
Flashover is the point in which everything in your home catches fire -- no one can survive. See how quickly flashover can occur and how it can be prevented. Home fire sprinklers save lives and property from fire. They act before the fire department is even notified. In this video, we show what happens while a house is burning and the local fire department is on its way.

Normalization of Deviation

Safety Culture Implications of Normalization of Deviation, sometimes also called a "Normalcy Bias". 

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a possible problem or disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a the problem or disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a fire or explosion, or disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

As applied to the combustible dust processing industries, we have seen the im…
Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas to All! Thanks, everyone, for making the world a little safer every day.


I could have saved a life that day,
But I chose to look the other way.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care;
I had the time, and I was there.

But I didn’t want to seem a fool,
Or argue over a safety rule.
I knew he’d done the job before;
If I spoke up he might get sore.

The chances didn’t seem that bad;
I’d done the same, he knew I had.
So I shook my head and walked by;
He knew the risks as well as I.

He took the chance, I closed an eye;
And with that act, I let him die.
I could have saved a life that day,
But I chose to look the other way.

Now every time I see his wife,
I know I should have saved his life.
That guilt is something I must bear;
But isn’t’ something you need to share.

If you see a risk that others take
That puts their health or life at stake,
The question asked or thing you say;

Combustible Dust: What Woodworkers Need to Know

From Woodworking network, an excellent article by Jamison Scott with Air Handling Systems on the health and safety issues associated with combustible wood dust.

ComDust: What Woodworkers Need to Know
By Jamison Scott | 11/28/2012 1:22:00 PM

Editor's note: An edited version of this article is in the print and digital editions of December Wood & Wood Products. Below is the article in its entirety.
The occurrences and severity of combustible wood dust related fires have been increasing, resulting in an increase in OSHA inspections. Combustible dust is a serious issue. It has become a top health and safety issue in the woodworking industry. While the first reported combustible dust fire occurred in a 1785 at a flour mill in Italy and over two hundred years later in 2008 a major sugar refinery in the state of Georgia exploded due to combustible dust, in 2012, the woodworking industry saw a major sawmill in British Columbia, Canada, launch a fire ball report…

What are the fundamentals of combustible dusts?

From the NFPA Today Blog.  There will soon be a new NFPA Standard on Combustible Dust, NFPA 652.  This article is an excellent primer on combustible dust, and describes the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, based on four basic concepts in each of the other NFPA combustible dust standards: hazard identification, hazard assessment, hazard management, and management systems.

Basically, you have to first know whether your dust is combustible, and many if not most dusts or "fines" created in manufacturing are potentially combustible, and you have to manage the risks, namely fugitive dust and ignition sources.

What are the fundamentals of combustible dusts? - National Fire Protection Association Blog

What are the fundamentals of combustible dusts? With the request to enter into a revision cycle approved by the Standards Council, the Preliminary Daft of NFPA 652, Standard on Combustible Dust, is now accepting public input until January 4, 2013.

The big question circling this docu…

Wood Plant ComDust Investigations


"Combustible sawdust turned up in unacceptable levels in 48 of 83 wood and forest products plants inspected..."

Plywood, Wood Plant ComDust Investigations Top Week's Reports
Combustible sawdust turned up in unacceptable levels in 48 of 83 wood and forest products plants inspected in British Columbia this summer, says the Vancouver Sun newspapers.

While the government agency WorkSafeBC had been inspecting sawmills and later plywood, pulp and secondary wood products firms, the newspaper's freedom of information request  named names and forced more public disclosure by the agency.

Plywood firms (West Fraser and Tolko are just two examples) were ordered to clean up; as well as secondary wood products manufacturers (some examples are C&C Wood, Teal Cedar, and Northern Engineered Wood Products). A complete list is at this link.

Combustible dust explosions racked two British Columbia sawmills earlier this year, killing four and injuring 5…

Wood Pellet Maker Settles OSHA ComDust Complaint

This story is an example of a process that manufactures "fuel", a wood pellet operation, and how critical it is to provide hazard analysis and the right engineering and administrative controls to help prevent fires and explosions. The proper safety systems can help protect processes that produce combustible dust from loss of production, injury, life safety, business continuity, OSHA fines, reputation in the industry and community, as well as the mental and emotional well being of employees.

The video below shows smoke from the storage silo, and the fire chief describes how an ember was allegedly created in a pelletizer, and was conveyed to the pellet cooler, where fire traveled from the cooler to the dust collector, and silo.  This is a common fire and explosion scenario in the pellet manufacturing process.
From Woodworking network.
Wood Pellet Maker Settles OSHA ComDust Complaint

By Rich Christianson | 11/29/2012 2:25:00 PM

BOSTON – New England W…

Possible Jail Time in ComDust Explosions

This is a real possibility. With willful safety violations, not only do you risk losing production, business continuity, life safety, reputation, insurance coverage, but also possible jail time.

Fines, Possible Jail Time in BC ComDust Explosions

 By Karen M. Koenig | 12/04/2012 1:39:00 PM

VANCOUVER - Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mills could each face fines of up to $652,000 if found guilty of violating the Workers Compensation Act. Combustible dust explosions racked the two British Columbia sawmills earlier this year, killing four and injuring 52 others.

Although unlikely, up to six months jail time is also possible, news sources report.

Late last week, the Canadian provincial WorkSafeBC agency referred to national government legal agencies its investigation work in the Jan. 19 Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake and April 23 Lakeland Mills in Prince George. In each case, combustible dust and dust accumulation were found to be contributing factor…