NFPA 664 (Wood Products) Revision Update

Earlier this week, NFPA published the Second Draft Meeting Minutes for the next edition of NFPA 664 – Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Wood Working Facilities.  This meeting was held in Atlanta on July 14-15, and I was in attendance both days. For those of you in the wood products industry in North America, this is the go-to guide to fire protection.  This meeting was to discuss the 2017 Edition of 664, which, contrary to its name, is scheduled to be released in Fall of 2016.

The major areas of discussion centered on public comments and on comments from NFPA’s Combustible Dusts Correlating Committee, which is the group assigned to keep the various industry specific standards as consistent as possible.  I can’t detail all of the comments here, but I will mention some of the key points of discussion:

– The basic layout of NFPA 664 was discussed, including whether or not to modify it to align with 652.  As stated in the Meeting Minutes, this will not be done during this revision cycle, but instead, a task group has been established to address this during the next revision cycle.

– The definition of wood dust, including deflagrable wood dust and dry, non-deflagrable wood dust was discussed. During the first revision draft, the particle size for a material to be considered deflagrable wood dust was increased significantly.  This was reconsidered for the second draft.

– The concept of using the depth and area of dust accumulation in a building to determine whether of not an explosion hazard exists was discussed. In the current version of the standard, it states a dust explosion hazard is deemed to exist where the layer of accumulated deflagrable wood dust exceeds 1/8 inch over 5% of the area of the building. As is detailed in the Second Draft Meeting Agenda, multiple public comments recommended removing the 5% qualifier, and instead, changing the standard to read as the average layer over the entire building.  Similar comments were also made on the next revision to NFPA 654. Pending review by the Correlating Committee, it is possible we will be seeing a change in how the dust layer depth criteria is handled in the future.

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