Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Defining ‘world-class’ safety

From Safety+Health Magazine

Defining ‘world-class’ safety

What does the phrase mean, and how can organizations achieve world-class status?

February 21, 2016

Key points
  • According to some experts, “world class” can be considered a  catch-all phrase to describe how positive a safety culture is, and where an organization stands when compared to others in their industry.
  • Other safety practitioners describe world-class safety as measurable achievement.
  • Another expert says world-class safety is not an award or championship, and requires a sustained effort.
Additional resource
To be considered “world class” is to be among the best. But what does it mean to have a world-class safety program? How can the status be achieved, and what weight does the phrase “world class” carry?

As Safety+Health found out when pursuing these questions, the answers are complex.

“I think the term is used very loosely. Everyone has their own definition,” said Tony Sykes, an Indianapolis-based health, safety and environmental consultant for Eli Lilly and Co.

Some, like Kevin Feeman – a total safety culture facilitator for a Union Pacific facility in Carson, CA – believe “world class” is “too ambiguous, too subjective and too meaningless.” Instead, Feeman said, organizations should “work toward your unified, success-oriented goals.”

Still, other experts who spoke with S+H pointed out a number of characteristics that could make up the backbone of world-class safety.

Defining the term

Megan Raines is the global director – safety and training at Dresser-Rand, a Houston-based oil and gas industry product manufacturer that recently was acquired by Siemens. Raines believes the path to
world-class safety is one that moves toward zero incidents and includes continuous improvement. “No organization is ever going to be perfect,” she said. “A world-class organization is one where you never think you’re good enough.”

Her viewpoint is similar to that of Sykes, who said that when speaking with senior management, he avoids using the term “world-class safety” too often – focusing instead on whether the organization is at the top of its game.

“What we want to drive toward is being the best we’re capable of, and being able to measure what ‘good’ is,” he said.

Sykes said “world-class safety” can be useful as a catch-all phrase for achieving a certain safety status, and being able to measure that status.

To a degree, world-class safety is used in a very generic sense, and world-class performance can be measured in a number of ways, according to Jim Johnson. Johnson is the former vice president of workplace safety initiatives for the National Safety Council and current vice president, partnerships, for DEKRA Insight.

Johnson believes most people understand that the term is reserved for organizations that have distinguished themselves through their safety performance and have evidence to support it.

A measureable achievement

Some stakeholders describe world-class safety as a measurable achievement, as opposed to receiving an award – or a sports team winning a championship.

“I don’t think it’s like winning the World Series. I think it’s a compilation of characteristics that define a company,” said Mike White. White is a member of the World Class Team – a group of safety
professionals who work to further the goals of the Campbell Institute of the National Safety Council. (For more information on the Campbell Institute, visit www.thecampbellinstitute.org.) He worked for four decades at General Motors, most recently as director of global safety programs.

Leadership, and how well safety is integrated into business operations, can help define whether an organization is world class, White said. (See “World-class safety management”.)

These characteristics can be measured and used to evaluate safety performance. According to Bill Bozzo, a consultant who recently retired as the vice president of environment, safety, health and sustainability for DM Petroleum in New Orleans, measurements can include employee engagement, training, involvement of safety committees and injury rates. These leading and lagging metrics can then be used to mathematically assess where an organization stands compared with others.

One tool to perform these calculations is the DuPont Bradley Curve, which assigns a value to companies’ performances and charts it. Companies are then plotted on the chart, which features a curve sloping down to the right. The far right of the curve – the lowest point in the curve – denotes a belief in zero injuries as an achievable goal, as well as an organization with teams of employees taking ownership and responsibility for safety. An organization on the far right of the curve, according to Sykes, whose company uses the DuPont Bradley Curve, signifies a relative safety culture strength score of at least 80 percent that aligns with low recordables and is among the best benchmark

companies that have participated in the past. This could be considered the tipping point as to whether an organization has achieved world-class safety status, he said.

World-class safety in and of itself may not be an award or dependent on such recognition, but some awards can be used as evidence of an organization having achieved world-class status. The Robert W. Campbell Award, given out by the Campbell Institute, is cited by some safety professionals as one example.

According to Johnson, the Campbell Institute identifies past winners as world class, and the award is reserved for companies with performance metrics and other indicators that set them apart from the majority of employers.

These measures aren’t based on profits or size because world class isn’t limited to multi-billion-dollar global companies, Johnson added. Small, family-owned businesses can and do achieve a reputation for having world-class safety.

“When it comes to a world-class level of performance for safety and health, industry doesn’t matter, the size doesn’t matter,” he said. “Any organization can achieve that standard by enhancing the right culture and committing to sustainable management systems for health and safety.”

Losing it

Achieving world-class safety is no guarantee of maintaining that status, stakeholders say.

According to Bozzo, an organization that wants to be considered world class must remain at the cutting edge of safety. He cautioned that what is cutting edge today could become commonplace tomorrow, and maintaining status quo could lead to falling behind organizations that are pushing
the envelope.

Culture plays an important role in determining world-class safety, Johnson said, because it creates the environment for systems to achieve excellence. He added that it can take years to get the right safety
culture in place, but loss of it can occur overnight (e.g., a change in leadership with reduced focus on safety).

Although most organizations capable of achieving world-class status have a strong safety culture with the appropriate processes in place to recognize and minimize risks, Sykes cautioned that culture still could decay if the organization rests on its laurels.

Johnson agreed.
“If a company has a culture that tends to believe in their own success, they may not hear the messages on opportunities to improve,” he said.

Bozzo speculated that some organizations may fall into a trap – they believe they’re “already there,” so they don’t need to push for continuous safety improvement. What those organizations should be
saying, he said, is “We need to do this because we’re world class.”

Although injuries, illnesses and deaths could indicate that a company has fallen from its world-class status, several stakeholders who spoke with S +H suggested that this isn’t always the case.

“Black swan” events – occurrences that exist but are rare – are unexpected. How an organization reacts to them helps define its integrity and world-class status, according to Bozzo.

Dresser-Rand experienced this in 2011 when a worker died on the job. It was the company’s first – and to date only – on-the-job fatality since being incorporated, Raines said. “You take it as a learning moment,” she said. “We took it extremely seriously and we really learned a lot from it, and put in policies and processes to ensure that would never happen again.”

A timely response to incidents, learning from them and working to minimize the possibility of another incident is what world-class companies do, Bozzo said. Such employers also take these steps with full disclosure and share their knowledge. Not only is this knowledge shared internally, but world-class companies share their bad experiences and solutions with others – both in and outside their peer groups, he added.

Injury rates alone don’t always paint the picture. If an organization has low rates one year and high rates the next, Sykes said, that company likely did not have world-class safety in the first place.

“You didn’t have all the elements in place and your system decayed,” he said. What may be the case in this situation was the company had a positive safety climate the first year, but that was not a reflection of the company’s overall safety culture. (Climate can be described as the measurement of safety in the short term, while culture is a sustained safety effort.)


Further highlighting a key difference between winning an award and obtaining world-class safety, Bozzo described world-class safety as a journey, not a destination or goal. An award is static – becoming world class is a mindset, he said.

Although an organization can decide to go on this journey, Bozzo warned that it should not declare itself “world class.”

Sykes agreed that the term carries more weight when coming from others, but said sometimes an organization knows itself better than anyone else. However, he stressed that any company must be able to show its methods of measuring its performance to back up a world-class safety claim. Without evidence, such a claim would not be taken seriously.

Employers need to be able to show what sets their group above other entities, Raines said, and outside recognition and robust internal procedures both provide evidence as to whether an organization is truly world class.

In Raines’ opinion, Dresser-Rand meets these criteria. “It is not even a priority for us. It’s a value,” she said of safety. “It’s critical all the time.”

In addition to recognition from clients and outside groups, Raines cites Dresser-Rand’s uniform global disciplined processes that surpass regulatory requirements, employee engagement with a successful stop-work authority program, and strong leadership where the highest-level individuals are held accountable for their commitment to safety.

Becoming a world-class safety company does not necessarily mean it will sell more product, White said, but it can help drive its overall performance.

Bozzo suggested something similar. “World class has to do with how well you recognize your business and what the risks are in your businesses, and how effective you are at controlling that,” he said. “World class is all about doing it well.”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Have Your Say...CSB ComDust Recommendation Hearing (July 25 1:30 PM EDT)

Ask and comment now, email comments@csb.gov Questions and comments to be read aloud at the meeting. To listen to the meeting via telephone, please use the following number and participant code: Access Number: 1-800-920-7487 Participant Code: 44665662#

Beginning at Thursday July 25 1:30 p.m. EDT, the Board will consider and vote on the status designations of four recommendations to OSHA related to the issuance of a general industry standard for combustible dusts:

Recommendation No. 2006-1-H-R1, issued pursuant to the CSB's Combustible Dust Study.
Recommendation No. 2008-5-I-GA-R11, issued pursuant to the CSB's Imperial Sugar Investigation Report.
Recommendation Nos. 2011-4-I-TN-R1 and R2, issued pursuant to the CSB's Hoeganaes Case Study.

At the conclusion of the meeting CSB Board Members are expected to designate an OSHA general industry standard for combustible dust as the CSB's first “Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvement” issue.

Meeting Agenda http://www.csb.gov/assets/1/7/72513_Meeting_Agenda.pdf

Friday, July 12, 2013

Live Demonstrations at Combustible Dust Testing Lab July 25 New Jersey

Live Demonstrations at Combustible Dust Testing Lab in conjunction with Two-Day combustible dust workshop July 25-26  North Cinnaminson, New Jersey. 

Course objectives- the combustible dust hazard workshop will provide the basic knowledge in identifying, evaluating, and controlling combustible dust hazards. Topics include recognizing fire and explosion hazards, ignition sources in operations, isolation engineering controls, laboratory testing for ignition and explosive severity, best industry practices and administrative controls for prevention, and conducting a facility hazard assessment. Who should attend: management, health and safety, and maintenance personnel in industries with combustible dust hazards including food, grain, wood, pulp, paper, plastics, pharmaceutical, rubber, metals and fossil fuel power generation.


Two -Day Workshop July 25 & 26, 2013

One-Day Workshop July 25  includes tour and live demonstrations in combustible dust testing laboratory

EMSL Analytical Combustible Dust Testing Options:
Initial Dust CharacterizationThe most important information determined in this stage are Percent Combustible Dust. This is the percentage of the sample that has the potential to be combustible when it is dry and fine enough to pass through a 40 mesh sieve (less than 420 μm in size). The testing includes:
- Percent through 40 Mesh Screen
- Percent Moisture Content
- Percent Combustible Material (calculated)
- Percent Combustible Dust (calculated)

Go – No Go Testing (Explosive Screening) – ASTM E1226This is an economical and practical way to determine if the dust in the sample has the potential to be explosive. Testing consists of exposing the fine dust in the sample to low energy igniters inside the 20-Liter Siwek explosion chamber and determine the explosion over pressure. If the dust is not found to be an explosive threat, the analysis can be aborted to avoid unnecessary fees.  If the sample turns out to be explosive on the screen testing, the more comprehensive analyses listed below should be conducted.

Explosion Severity (Kst, Pmax, [dP/dt]max) – ASTM E1226This testing provides an indication of the severity of the dust explosion by determining the deflagration parameters. The larger the value of Kst, the more severe the explosion is. For this test, the dust is suspended and ignited in the Siwek chamber and the maximum pressureand the rate of pressure rise are measured.

Minimum Explosion Concentration (MEC) – ASTME1515MEC is the minimum concentration for explosivity of a combustible dust cloud. It is determined by suspending the dust in the Siwek Chamber.

Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) – ASTM E2019MIE is the electrical energy discharged from a capacitor, just sufficient to produce the ignition of the most ignitable mixture of air and dust. It is determined by suspending the dust in a Hartmann Lucite explosion chamber.

Minimum Ignition Temperature Test (MIT) – ASTM E1491 (dust cloud)ASTM E2021 (dust layer)This test method covers the minimum temperature at which a dust cloud will autoignite when exposed to air and heated in a furnace at atmospheric pressure. It is determined by introducing the dust into a BAM oven. As an alternative, the minimum temperature of self-ignition of dust layer can be measured using a hot plate set-up.

Class II TestingThis level of testing involves a number of parameters that determine if the sampled dust is considered a Class II hazardous material. Class II locations are defined as locations with combustible dust having Ignition Sensitivity (I.S.) greater than or equal to 0.2 or Explosion Severity (E.S.) greater than or equal to 0.5. I.S. is calculated from MIT, MIE, and MEC for the sample normalized to Pittsburg coal dust, whereas E.S. is calculated from Pmax and[dP/dt]max for the sample, also normalized to Pittsburg coal dust.

Resistivity Testing (for metal dust in particular)The resistivity testing is particularly important for metal dust. The electrical nature of the dust is one criteria to determine if it is necessary to take special precaution with regard to electrical insulation of the equipment operating in a location with Class II dust.

 View Other Fire Investigation Testing - Fire, Smoke, Char, Ash, Soot, Accelerants
FREE Combustible Dust Poster for Environmental Professionals
Download 8.5 X 11 PDF

Monday, July 8, 2013

Webinar: Combustible Dust: From Sparks to Fires to Explosions

Over 500+ combustible dust related incidents in 2011 according to U.S Fire Administration (Department of Homeland Security) NFIRS reports. Find out more with free webinar ON DEMAND

Since the 2009 introduction of OSHA’s proposed combustible dust rulemaking following the 2008 Imperial Sugar Refinery catastrophic dust explosion, a regulation has not been finalized. In the interim, Congress has acted with the February 2013 reintroduction of a proposed combustible dust bill, “Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act (H.R. 691),” which directs OSHA to immediately publish an interim combustible dust regulation.

A problem arises in both the proposed OSHA combustible dust rulemaking process and reintroduced combustible dust bill in that neither acknowledges the multitude of “near miss” combustible dust related fires, precursors to catastrophic dust explosions and flash fires. In 2013 a preliminary analysis by the Combustible Dust Policy Institute (CDPI) of National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) 2011 data provided by the National Fire Data Center at the U.S. Fire Administration indicated over 500 combustible dust related incidents. The majority of these incidents are “near miss” fires in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors with dust, item first ignited.

This webinar will provide valuable information on how partnering with the nation’s fire service assists facility owners, managers, and OHS professionals in identifying combustible dust hazards, preventing incidents, and reducing liability. The presenters will discuss the fire service’s response to the prevalence of repeatable “near miss” combustible dust-related fires occurring throughout U.S. industry.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vacuum Collection Systems Designed for Explosive Dust Atmospheres

When milling, machining, polishing, grinding, or drilling materials such as Titanium, Magnesium, Aluminum, Iron Oxides, Stainless Steel, and Carbon Fiber, manufacturers must address the inherent explosion and fire hazards associated with the combustible dust generated by these materials.

NFPA 484 Annex // A. Combustible Metal Dust.** Combustible Metal Dust. “A combustible particulate metal that presents a fire or explosion hazard when suspended in air or the process specific oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations, regardless of particle size or shape.”

An overall system solution must address the process requirements, materials, and the volumes processed. All equipment in contact with hazardous / combustible dusts must be constructed in compliance with HazLoc  Class II disciplines, and applicable N.F.P.A., A.N.S.I.,  and A.S.M.E. standards.  Customized systems are usually application specific and sized appropriately for the collection, conveyance, and control of the materials, ratios, and anticipated volumes of debris to be recovered. 

A basic understanding of the issues and solutions as relate to current developments in systems configurations, and best industry practices requires an explanation as to how catastrophic events occur.  In the interest of enhanced worker and plant safety we will also review what can be done to prevent them.

Combustible dust related fires occur in all cases as a result of combustible materials being exposed to an ignition source.  This can occur either during or subsequent to machining when materials are within ignition sensitivity levels capable of supporting a deflagration.

During Transfer:      
When being transferred for collection, combustible dusts can also impact duct work elbows and other constrained joints and as a result of high speed impact create a spark moving the ignition source toward a collection point.  Non-grounded components accumulating an electrostatic charge, exposure to electrical motors or other spark producing equipment can also provide an ignition source.

If an ember or spark is eventually transferred to a collection location and maintains ignition energy it can initiate a further transfer of the ignition to additional materials in the process stream.

Accumulated Residuals:
Layers of dust which have accumulated over time have also been documented as transmitting an initial deflagration to secondary areas. In a worst case scenario if suspended as a dust cloud, explosions are easily generated as the deflagration gains rapid expansion due to the increase of combustibles.


Dust explosions occur when combustible materials are suspended in an air/fuel concentration consistent with rapid ignition transmission. If the initial deflagration generates even a primary explosion, the associated shock waves will dislodge any dusts which have accumulated over time on overhead beams, walls, duct work, machinery, or collection vents. When these materials are dislodged from their resting place, they become airborne and in the presence of the initial flame front ignition source presented by the initial deflagration, they will contribute to an even much larger secondary catastrophic explosion.  Incidents reported in recent years here in the U.S. have documented multiple deaths, injuries, and significant property destruction.



S.D.S. (SAFETY DATA SHEETS) seldom refer to the inherent danger of finite dust particles generated during machining processes. They fall short by NOT expressing the M.I.E. (Minimum Ignition Energy) and minimum ignition temperature (MIT) thresholds and seldom address the issue of reactivity with other materials.  In some industries such as aerospace, there are usually several materials in a waste stream.  As an example, drilling and assembling aircraft structures will generate carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel in varying combinations.  These comingled materials lead to secondary handling issue that S.D.S. specifications don’t address. Using one collection system for recovering different materials from diverse operations should be evaluated by sample testing to determine if a volatile combination of materials with lower MIE than each by themselves may be present.


Housekeeping, provides increased worker and plant safety but usually adds to the overall cost of manufacturing operating expenditures.  Safely removing accumulated combustible dusts requires specialized equipment and in some cases access can only be achieved if entire production areas are shut-down.  As a result, cleaning activities are not performed as frequently as they should be thus increasing the risks associated with accumulated combustible dusts. To minimize personal risks, efforts should include materials safety awareness, safe handling protocols and training. For example, using plant compressed air to “blow-off” debris from recessed areas should be avoided as the resultant dust in suspension could easily propagate an explosion under the right conditions.


When dealing with any of the debris generated within the production waste stream, one of the first steps must include combustible dust testing of the materials for explosive severity and ignition sensitivity as they would be generated in the work environment.  Sample collection(s) and submittal to an independent laboratory for testing under N.F.P.A. Code 68 is essential. Data received from such test results is mandatory when designing fire prevention and explosion protection equipment and process systems with sufficient capacities to safely accommodate subsequent collection, conveyance, and containment of the materials being recovered.


Central Vacuum System
Current systems have incorporated both high volume air flow AND high vacuum to optimize collection efficiencies and transfer capabilities of heavy combustible dusts.   The ability to collect and control the transfer of any debris or dust is related directly to the volume, size, weight, specific gravity, and surface area of the material to be addressed.  Vacuum in itself provides no means to act upon any material unless there is substantial air volume available to generate the motive force behind transfer.  Dust collectors generally rely upon large volumes of air flow and as a result impart minimal vacuum on materials to maintain their velocities in collection ducts. 

Collect dust as it is being generated.
Hazardous dust migration in many cases has been eliminated by using specialized high volume – high vacuum / dust recovery systems to collect debris simultaneous to generation further containing the recovered materials and minimizing the burden of house-keeping. Within the aerospace industry, complete recovery of drill chips and dust at the work piece is currently in use on several projects and in automotive applications, debris recovery has been accomplished within assembly and machining operations with the same process.

Control dust during transfer:
The recovery of combustible particulate solids must assure that air/material ratios never approach critical M.E.C. (Minimal Explosive Concentrations) which could support ignition resulting in a deflagration which could travel either up or down stream of the event. M.E.C. ratios vary based on materials and process requirements, however the speed at which materials are transferred and the separation of these materials by excessive air volumes provides a means to isolate one particle from the next. High volume rate transfer also maintains the materials in suspension which minimizes their contact with duct work thus reducing the build-up of fines, clogs, static, and sparks

Contain dust for safe disposal:
Many terms apply to the initial separation of the combustible dusts from the recovering air stream such as Vortex, Centrifugal, or Gate type systems. Initial contact between recovered dusts and the receiving receptacle act to slow the materials in the air stream such that heavy materials drop out of the airstream before contact with any filtering media. General dust collectors employ filter “bag-house” configurations with high pressure air jets to back flush the filters on occasion to maintain collection capabilities as the finer materials in these type systems have a tendency to migrate into the filter media. Rotary valves or gates at the bottom of the recovery receptacles allow recovered materials to be collected for disposal.

Items which may have been considered as “OPTIONAL” in the past should be considered as MINIMAL requirements in systems collecting and conveying combustible dusts in compliance to HazLoc Class II.  Terminology may differ between industries and suppliers however the intent to which these are applied remains consistent with providing safety in the work place.                        

 Specifically best industry practices include:

Grounding – and incorporating non-spark producing elements, materials, motors, switches
Spark / Heat detection – includes multiple high temperature rise sensors
Explosion detection – detect first pressure wave of an initial explosion ( see isolation below )
Explosion venting – pressure relief and / or rupture disk,  vents explosion toward a safe area
Flame / Fire / Deflagration  Suppression – appropriate to the material(s) being encountered
Flameless venting – prevents flame travel beyond location of occurrence
Isolation-Explosion gates – prevents flame travel “up-stream” or to other process areas
Minimized debris contained for safe daily removal
Plant personnel education, awareness and training

Author: J. Byron Walker is Director for Systems Design and Engineering @ TECH TRANS UNLIMITEDCORP.  He has over 35 years of experience in Robotics and automation systems integration working in the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries.  He holds patents in finite parts cleaning technologies and is responsible for providing total systems solutions for the safe recovery and transfer of Hazardous Materials to which this article is directed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wisconsin Combustible Dust Hazard Awareness Seminar, May 16

Full-day Combustible Dust Hazard Awareness Seminar. May 16, 2013, Northcentral Technical College, Wausau, Wisconsin. Workplace combustible dust related fires and explosions occur with alarming regularity throughout the global grain, mining, manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. Historically, many of these non-consequential incidents have escalated into catastrophic events. Subsequently, this educational seminar will provide stakeholders with the basic knowledge and skills in minimizing the probability of occurrence and severity of consequence of future combustible dust related incidents in addition to maintaining OSHA regulatory compliance.

Seminar agenda will include:
• Introduction to OSHA Regulations and NFPA Combustible Dust Standards
• Identifying combustible dust hazards
• Evaluating combustible dust hazards
• Administrative and engineering control measures
• Facility inspection and risk assessment
Date: May 16, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: NTC Wausau Campus
Price: $50


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