10:16:24 am, by Caroline Hudson | 3819 views | 0 comments
Under the right conditions, just about anything can be dangerous, including dust. Materials that are not themselves combustible in solid form can become explosible given the right conditions. OSHA’s webpage on combustible dust states that:
“A wide variety of materials that can be explosible in dust form exist in many industries. Some industry examples include: food (e.g., candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed), grain, tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, metals (e.g., aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc), and fossil fuel power generation.”
The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) completed a study that identified 281 combustible dust incidents from 1980 to 2005, which includes 119 deaths as well as injury to another 718 workers. As a result of this study, OSHA has commenced rulemaking. In March 2008, OSHA implemented a Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) to assist in developing a combustible dust standard for general industry
This month, OSHA released the booklet “Firefighting Precautions at Facilities with Combustible Dust.” The booklet aims at raising awareness of first responders in an effort to reduce the numbers of injuries and fatalities in flash fires produced from combustible dust. It outlines what to look for in a pre-incident survey (including housekeeping issues to prevent build-up of combustible dust on surfaces, even elevated structural surfaces) and touches on precautions to be taken during a response. The booklet is a jumping off point for local first responders and industry to partner in order to work toward safer incident response until a standardized approach can be legislated.
Categories: Caroline Hudson