Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Combustible Dust Fire Incident Reporting Deficiencies

A problem arises in the national fire reporting system where there are no data elements specifically identifying manufacturing process equipment involved in ignition of combustible dust. If process condition fire hazards can't be identified, then how can they be properly evaluated and controlled through administrative, PPE and best engineering practices?

"Stakeholders seeking control measures to minimize the probability and severity of combustible dust incidents should work more closely with the fire service."

Posted via email from ComDust


1. National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS 5.0) Complete Reference Guide

2. Report on Confined Structure Fires-February 2006, US Fire Administration

3. U.S. Industrial and Manufacturing Property Structure Fires, Oct. 2009, NFPA Fire Analysis and Research Division

4. US Chemical Safety Board, Combustible Dust Hazard Investigation, Nov. 2006

5. NFPA 901 Standard Classifications for Incident Reporting and Fire Protection

Biofuel Fires and Explosions-Google Maps

Google Maps

Ethanol Plant Fires and Explosions

Biodiesel Plant Fires and Explosions

Maps Compiled by John Astad, Director/Research Analyst, Combustible Dust Policy Institute

Combine Harvester Combustible Dust Fires

Informative article on the results of a research study on combustible dust related fires occurring in combine harvesters in the agricultural sector. The harvester diesel engine creates high temperatures resulting in very hot surfaces that can easily ignite the build-up of combustible dust that has low minimum ignition temperatures (MIT).
Stock & Land/Fairfax Media

The entire manufacturing sector can learn from this study as the process situations (ignition sources) of hot surfaces and static electricity can ignite combustible dust at facilities just like that do on a combine harvester. Good housekeeping is essential in minimizing the probability of occurrence in either case.


Posted via email from ComDust

Combustible Dust Fires. "It's the nature of the business"

Fire Chief states, "It's the nature of the business." "Part of the problem is the nature of the process that's there. It lends itself to having a fire to begin with. And it's not their fault" Caledon Enterprise

That is the problem here in the USA as many fire departments also believe it's the nature of the business and not the facilities fault. Fires in hoppers, dust collectors, etc. are really confined structure fires occuring in non-combustible containers in addition to in most cases; no fatalities, minor injuries, and no property damage.

Basically we are talking about a smoke scare and that is why these incidents are not reported in the US Fire Administration NFIRS 5.0. Why do we have to wait for a catastrophic ComDust explosion to take proactive action?

Posted via email from ComDust

Explosion Vents Reduce Severity of Explosion

Grain elevator had prior explosion in 2008 which caused much more damage and a worker injury. CEO notes that explosion protection best engineering practices lessened the severity of this recent explosion. This incident is a prime example of how ComDust incidents will continue to occur and only the probability and severity can be reduced through PPE, best engineering, and administrative controls.

Posted via email from ComDust

Fine dust buildup at Winnipeg feed-processing operation

"It's believed a spark from the machinery inside the hopper ignited the blaze, which is burning in the feed residue that had been encrusted along the walls of the bin." Prior fire several days earlier causing an estimated $20,000 damage.Winnipeg Free Press

Many other manufacturing facilities have similiar process situations (ignition sources) where either a spark or spontaneous ignition can ignite the process materials causing a combustible dust related fire. Good housekeeping and maintenance is essential in removing the buildup of combustible dust or residue. Without the fuel, a combustible dust related fire will not occur.

Posted via email from ComDust


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