Friday, January 16, 2009

Flame Resistant Clothing/Combustible Dust Hazards-Podcast#5


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David Osbon, Product Manager at Unifirst shares with listeners the importance of wearing flame resistant clothing (FRC) at facilities that handle combustible particulate solids that generate combustible dust. In the instance of a combustible dust related fire or explosion the thermal effects can cause severe burn injuries in addition to fatalities

The importance of workers donning personnel protective equipment (PPE) takes on an added dimension with the threat from combustible dust related fires and explosions in the workplace. Many manufacturing facility managers, owners, and employees are not aware of the fire hazard from combustible dust incidents when workers can sustain life threatening burns like occur in the refinery sector from vapor cloud explosions and flash fires, where the wearing of FRC's is required.

Reviewing the OSHA Combustible Dust NEP reference is made in the citations section:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Violations
. Citations under 1910.132(a) (the general requirement to provide and assure the use of protective equipment, including protective clothing) may be issued, if an employee exposure to potential burn injuries can be documented. For example, if employees are not wearing protective clothing, such as flame-resistant clothing , in areas of the plant (e.g., bagging areas) where employees may be exposed to potential flash fire hazards, then citations under 1910.132(a) may be issued. A citation may be issued whether or not an accident precipitated the inspection.

Additionally, in regards to the life safety issue of donning FRC's in the workplace, the OSHA General Duty Clause requires that employers provide FRC's to employees when a hazard is potentially present from combustible dust related fires and explosions. Furthermore the OSHA Dust NEP states:

"...National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2113, Standard on Selection, Care, Use and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire is a national consensus standard which applies to, among others, chemical, refining, and terminal facilities with flash fire hazards..."

Resources:
NFPA 70E Electrical Safety in the Workplace
NFPA 2112: Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire, National Consensus Standard
ASTM Committee E27.05 on Explosibility and Ignitability of Dust Clouds
ASTM Committee F-23 on Protective Clothing
Podcasts-Combustible Dust Hazard Awareness

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