Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dust Explosion Former Sugar Factory-Gross-Gerau, Germany

Dust explosion happened in Germany but it just as well could have occurred anywhere else. It's extremely important to understand that collecting data on global combustible dust related fires and explosions assists immensely in understanding the probability of occurrence and severity of consequence. Through lessons-learned, global trading partners can share information in the prevention and mitigation of future incidents in similar national industries.

OSHA did a great job in the preparation of the recent ANPRM proposed combustible dust rulemaking document in the introduction section, providing Table 1 illustrating national industries with a discernible probability of occurrence. Collecting incident data over a period of time assists in risk analysis. Especially in observing trends where incidents are occuring in specific national industries.

Last year, immediately after the Imperial Sugar incident I began collecting data from news accounts of combustible dust related fires and explosions in the United States. Subsequently, a week before the first combustible dust hearing was held by the House Committee on Education and Labor on March 12, 2008, over a dozen combustible dust related fires and explosions had occurred in the manufacturing sector, since the previous Imperial Sugar incident. The numbers just didn't add up? Especially with the CSB Dust Hazard Study reporting an average of 12 incidents annually.

Thinking geez, this is something that could help provide an enhanced awareness on the volatile subject. I eagerly contacted the House Committee on Education and Labor and offered to share this important incident data. Well things didn't work out. A staff member informed me that the the data couldn't be used at the Combustible Dust hearing , as congressional committee members would not find it acceptable, since it was coming from some guy in Texas on his computer. After hanging up the phone, the Combustible Dust Policy Institute went into action.

I'd like to thank the many friendships developed spanning the globe in supporting my combustible dust incident research efforts. Without your enthusiastic encouragement I don't think it would of been possible to continue such an endeavor with such intensity. Many times working 24-36 hours at a time in conjunction with 12 hour shifts with my regular job. Sort of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde existence.

It's odd, nowadays unless one is represented by a million dollar lobby firm on K Street, then the voice of the average blue collar American working Joe on the street is worthless. That's the way things stand today in Washington, D.C. But the paradigm has changed. With the power of the Internet, one has the resources at hand as any Fortune 500 Corporation.. All it takes from there is a deep desire to seek the truth in what is reality in contrast to sometimes questionable governmental data and commercial mainstream media.

I encourage all Americans to go behind the scenes, like Toto did in the Wizard of Oz and pull the curtain back while the Wizard pulls the levers. Combustible dust is just a drop in the bucket in comparison to the myriad of social-economic issues that confront Americans, in which Congress and governmental agencies debate on a daily basis. Pick an issue that interests you and then go for it, researching topics that you hear about in the news.

Many news reports are solely commentary with supposedly facts and figures obtained from governmental press releases. After a few weeks of research, you just might find that the data in the governmental reports and mainstream media might not quite be reality. But once you do obtain information, start writing about the results of your research to share with others with similiar interests. Be sure to include hyperlinks of your sources in your content, so readers can obtain a fuller understanding of the subject.

Now with Web 2.0, utilizing Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc your story is effortlessly shared across international borders. Just remember content is king. So the more you post, the more the Google spider will find in keywords that will appear when potential visitors are seeking information on the subject in their searches.

In regards to occupational health and safety I'm certain that the future in achieving a safe workplace throughout industry in a comprehensive manner can be enhanced immensely utilizing all the resources that the Internet offers. I'd like to thank my good friend Xavier De Gea, Director en LPG Prevención y protección Explosiones from Barcelona, Spain for sharing the recent sugar dust explosion news account, which assists in providing a global awareness of a very complex subject.

Resources

News Article/Dust Explosion -German version
Photo Credit (Photo: Torben Liedtke) to the photo gallery

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