The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is emphasizing combustible dust safety. Conversion Technology, Inc. (CTI) offers combustible dust hazard analysis, explosion protection design, and operational guidance to ensure the safety of employees and the facility.
Between 1980 and 2008, combustible dust was responsible for 348 explosions, 793 injuries, and 133 deaths. It is a hazard that goes overlooked in many facilities due to the fact that it is not fully understood. Dust can become fuel for fires and explosions when it accumulates to dangerous levels. Combustible dust comes from many sources, such as sugar, flour, feed, plastics, wood, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, and metals, and therefore poses a risk across a number of different industries throughout the United States. OSHA shows some of the materials that may become explosive when divided into small enough particles here (PDF).
CTI is available to conduct a hazard analysis at the facility to determine the location and severity of combustible dust hazards at a facility. CTI can also assist with developing combustible dust policies, safety programs, aid in training and implementation of the program, and perform engineering design and selection of explosion prevention and protection equipment.
During the hazard analysis, CTI’s engineers will examine the combustible dust handling and generating processes at a facility. MSDS’s will be examined to determine the explosibility of a material and material sampling may take place if necessary. The hazard analysis report will include locations and severities of hazards and provide recommendations designed to lower the risk associated with combustible dust.
Combustible Dust Safety Program
CTI can develop a facility-specific Combustible Dust Safety Program that will be an all-inclusive safety plan addressing combustible dust hazards. It will outline policies and procedures used to help ensure employee safety. Elements of the plan include drawings illustrating the locations of dust hazards, housekeeping standards, training schedule, emergency response, inspection forms and recommendations for improving facility safety
Training and Implementation
CTI is available to develop and implement a Combustible Dust Training Program for management and employees. CTI will help personnel understand the hazards involved with their jobs and their responsibilities to ensure the safety of themselves and fellow employees. The training given is site specific to address the unique hazards present at the facility.
CTI is available to assist in the implementation of the Combustible Dust Safety Program. CTI will work with personnel so they understand their roles in combustible dust safety. CTI will help them complete the checklists and inspection forms that are part of the program. CTI is also available for periodic audits to ensure the plans are being followed.
CTI can assist facilities in the design and selection of explosion prevention and protection equipment. CTI is staffed with registered Professional Engineers in multiple states who can ensure conformance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and/or local standards.
GEORGIA SPECIFIC REGULATIONS
New GA Combustible Dust Rules became effective March 9, 2010.
The Georgia Safety Fire Commissioner has enacted Chapter 120-3-24: Rules and Regulations for Loss Prevention Due to Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire, and these rules have an effective date of March 9, 2010. These rules were specifically made by the State of Georgia to regulate combustible dust in response to the Imperial Sugar tragedy in Port Wentworth, GA that occurred in 2008.
The new regulations will require many changes to work practices and training, and will make some National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards enforceable. One of the most immediate changes will be that facilities will be required to register with the State of Georgia beginning June 1, 2010, to be completed July 1, 2010. The new rule will also require more rigorous training schedules along with more frequent emergency drills. Annually, facilities will submit affidavits that the required training and drills were conducted.
The requirements are itemized below:
- Several NFPA Standards are mandatory.
- NFPA 654 and 664 both require process hazard analysis be conducted.
- All renovations of existing equipment and installations of new equipment / processes must be in compliance with the provisions, regardless of whether or not permitting is required.
- Requires registration beginning June 1, 2010, and to be completed by July 1, 2010.
- Has specific requirements for fire protection and emergency action plans.
- Requires emergency drills on a QUARTERLY basis, evacuation drills annually and disaster drills “periodically”.
- Requires initial training of new employees and annual refresher training. It includes eight (8) specific topics: Hazard of their workplace; general orientation; process description; equipment operation (start-up, shut-down, and response to upset conditions); proper functionality of fire and explosion protection systems; equipment maintenance; housekeeping; and emergency response plans.
- Requires all employees to receive monthly notifications of hazards and safety information related to industry’s operation.
- Requires written affidavit certifying annually that required emergency plans, drills, training and monthly notifications have been completed.
Conversion Technology, Inc. is available to assist facilities comply with the new regulations.