Friday, October 10, 2008

ComDust Alert #1 -Demolition Work Combustible Dust Hazard

Fire crews called to Hoover plant

Over the past year the Combustible Dust Policy Institute has observed through media accounts, numerous preventable combustible dust fires occurring at facilities where demolition work is conducted. Contractors must be informed by plant owners when working adjacent to process equipment such as ducting and bulk storage enclosures. A dilemma exists when the plant is sold and then vacant. How does the appropriate parties obtain the essential risk assessment information?

Prior to demolition work starting, a thorough risk assessment must be performed by all stakeholders, which identifies, evaluates, and controls the risk. Either the combustible dust hazard must be eliminated or managed appropriately. Most contractors are not aware of combustible dust hazards while conducting their work at manufacturing facilities. This presents a serious problem when heat sources from grinding and cutting tools adjacent to fuel sources complete the fire triangle.

Another possible solution in preventing future combustible dust related fires during demolition work is through an education effort involving area safety councils across the nation working proactively with their construction and manufacturing sector membership. Until some form of proactive situational awareness measure is implemented these incidents will continue.


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