Monday, November 9, 2009

Wanna play the OSHA 191.178 C02 lottery?

I'd like to share this post that was authored by Robert Zuiderveld, General Manager at Pyroban Corp in the ComDust discussion group. It is an interesting and informative post as it provides insight regarding equipment protection levels of powered industrial trucks and equipment type’s suitability in a potentially combustible dust explosive atmosphere. OSHA PIT 1910.178 violations where third most cited violation according to the recent OSHA status report of the Dust NEP program

Robert Zuiderveld analyzed OHSA citations given for OSHA 1910.178 C02 violations for powered industrial trucks (use of improper equipment types in explosion hazardous areas) between 2003 and 2008.

2003 - 10 citations
2004 -18 citations
2005 -14 citations
2006 -16 citations
2007 -18 citations
2008 -31 citations

Units Sold

During that same time the following estimated number of “rated” forklift trucks (“S”, EE & DY types) were sold based on a 2% market share of total trucks sold (figure agreed upon by forklift OEMs)

2003 - approx. 2800 ES, EE, LPS, DS, DY units sold
2004 - approx. 3300, ES, EE, LPS, DS, DY units sold
2005 - approx. 3600, ES, EE, LPS, DS, DY units sold
2006 - approx. 3800, ES, EE, LPS, DS, DY units sold
2007 - approx. 3500, ES, EE, LPS, DS, DY units sold
2008 - approx. 3000, ES, EE, LPS, DS, DY units sold


According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) during this same time period the following number of fires were ignited by forklift trucks and loader:

2003 – 532 fires (+/- 2233 fires if you incl. construction equipment, cranes and misc ind. equipment)
2004 - 572 fires (+/- 2469 fires if you incl. construction equipment, cranes and misc ind. equipment)
2005 - 657 fires (+/- 2795 fires if you incl. construction equipment, cranes and misc ind. equipment)
2006 -686 fires(+/- 2982 fires if you incl. construction equipment, cranes and misc ind. equipment)
2007 -795 fires (+/- 3149 fires if you incl. construction equipment, cranes and misc ind. equipment)
2008 –not available yet

Equipment Protection Levels

Based on this data, it appears that OSHA inspectors may lack the ability to recognize equipment protection levels and equipment type’s suitability allowing the use of equipment types which are not tested, certified or suitable for use in the Class I and Class II explosion hazardous areas.

Additionally it appears that OSHA enforcement and fines are inconsistent. Citations for 1910.178 C02 are none existent or far and few between in some of the states with the highest number of forklift fires.

If you are located in CA for example you have nothing to worry about. CAL-OSHA appears to be too busy with CARB to address equipment fire safety issues.

Fines have been relatively low ($250 – $2500), unless you have an incident that arouses OSHA scrutiny. Then things get really ugly really quick.

Imperial Sugar $350,000.00
All-feed $35,000.00

Off course if you are an oil refinery a different set of rules appear to apply, since BP Texas City nor Calumet, Shreveport were cited for using unprotected industrial equipment, even though a pickup truck and a vacuum truck were responsible for igniting those explosions.

Many more examples, mostly not cited by OSHA, can be found on our site at:

Why the double standard....only OSHA knows

With 45,000 Dust facilities to inspect (for some unknown reason these industries with known dust fire hazards were not included in the OSHA NEP SIC lists: paper related industries, ethanol plants, Cotton farms) and probably a similar number of companies handling Class I flammable materials. OSHA has its work cut out for them and your chances of getting audited may be similar to your chance of winning the lottery.


Thanks Robert for the valuable insight. Fantastic job on the excellent research and sharing with others

Contact Info
Robert Zuiderveld-General Manager at Pyroban Corp.
T: +1-973-748-0760
F: +1-973-842-0508

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