Friday, April 27, 2012

Guidance WorkSafeBC Directive Order to Sawmill Employers

Now that the topic of workplace combustible fire and explosion hazards is out the open in British Columbia  sawmills it is important for facility owners and managers to understand the steps in a risk assessment in developing engineering and administrative control measures. The missing link that has not been communicated to stakeholders is the importance of understanding the BC Fire Code which references NFPA 664 Standard for the Prevention of Fires and. Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking. Facilities. An excellent resource in understanding NFPA 664 is the 24 page .pdf document developed by the  Wood Machinery Manufactures of America (WMMA).

The BC Fire Code references NFPA 664 Standard for the Prevention of Fires and. Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking. Facilities. For example,  BC Fire Code (1998), Hazardous Processes & Operations (page 113 .pdf) Section Part 5.3. – Dust Producing Processes (page 115 .pdf)

Many don't realize that it is not WorkSafeBC which enforces the BC Fire Code but instead the Fire Commissioner ("Office") and the Office's jurisdiction over fire safety and fire protection in British Columbia. The Office is the senior authority having jurisdiction over fire safety and prevention in B.C. The Office administers the Fire Services Act and it regulations, and appoints and trains local assistants to the Fire Commissioner.

"where WorkSafeBC prevention officers observe what they believe to be a violation of the Fire Services Act or its regulations, prevention officers will notify the local assistant to the Fire Commissioner."

Solely relying on the WorkSafeBC regulation on combustible dust is not sufficient in undertaking a comprehensive risk assessment in addition to developing a combustible dust control program. An understanding of NFPA 664 as referenced in the BC Fire Code will assist immensely in conducting a safety review for combustible dust in sawmills.

To assist stakeholders WorkSafeBC published OHS Guideline G5.81 Combustible Dust-Sawmill Facilities (April 25, 2012) The recent guideline provides information on a Combustible Dust Program which includes elements of hazard mitigation; facility risk assessment, written combustible dust control program, and a hazardous communication program.

Update April 28, 2012 WorksafeBC Bulletin — Clean-up of hazardous combustible dust
"WorkSafeBC has prepared a simple one-page bulletin in safe cleaning procedures of combustible dust that  protect workers."

WorkSafeBC Directive Order to Sawmill Employers 
NFPA 664 Combustible Dusts – Overview (WMMA)
BC Fire Code (1998)
OHS Guideline Combustible Dust Sawmills


John L said...

Hopefully people will follow these codes and guidelines, so now one gets hurt.

Fiona said...
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