Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the fires, stupid! Mfg Plant Two Fires, One Day

Bell said there was a small explosion in one of the silos in the first one of the day. It did damage to the top of the silo, he said, and the fire was contained within the silo.

Wood Window and Door Manufacturing plant in Bayport, MN has two fires and one explosion in one day. It's not unusual from the over 150+ combustible incidents that occurred in 2008 when a Fire Chief mentions to reporters that It's not uncommon to have a fire..."

OSHA does not realize that the majority of incidents in the manufacturing sector are combustible dust related fires. In these incidents workplace fatalities and injuries are rare. Instead the flurry of national press releases that OSHA posts on their site stating that all combustible dust incidents are explosions resulting in fatalities and injuries. This is an inaccurate statement of reality and does not address the heart of the problem. So how many facilities could of been proactively engaged in addressing layers of protection if an accurate depiction of probability of occurrence and severity of consequence was provided?

So what do you think? Should the OSHA proposed combustible dust rulemaking process be solely centered on secondary dust explosions that occur due to poor housekeeping. What about the combustible dust related fires that are a local and regional jurisdictional issue and not federal.

The proposed combustible dust rulemaking does not address the antiquated OSHA General Industry Standards. This fact was illuminated through the recent OSHA ComDust NEP status report where 90% of the citations were General Industry citations, (see figure 6) such as HazCom, Housekeeping, Powered Industrial Trucks, PPE, and Hazardous (Classified) Locations.

Combustible Dust NEP Status Report - October 2009
"It's the economy, stupid"

Posted via web from ComDust


Jeffrey C. Nichols said...

I would submit that it is likely they had a fire somewhere else in the process that was transferred to their storage silos. It is also possible that material started to break down or super heat within the storage silos, but that would likely indicate other problems.

John Astad said...

Thanks Jeff in sharing a potential scenario. Like you mention I've read news accounts the scenario you described. One instance was a wood pellet manufacturer in New England.


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