The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a new safety video depicting three accidents involving combustible iron dust at the Hoeganaes Corporation in Gallatin, TN. The video, entitled “Iron in the Fire,” features three computer animations showing how fine metal particles were lofted and ignited in two incidents, and how a hydrogen explosion and subsequent flash fires caused by lofted metal dust killed a total of five workers and injured three others.
“Combustible dust is a serious workplace hazard across the country," said CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso. "Since the Chemical Safety Board was established in 1998, three of the deadliest accidents we have investigated have been combustible dust explosions.” The chairman said he hopes the video will drive home the point that dust fires and explosions continue to claim lives and destroy property in many industries.
NFPA Research Foundation issues report on dust explosion hazard assessment criteria
Recently, there has been an increased awareness of the explosion hazard associated with combustible dusts. NFPA 654/A.188.8.131.52 (Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids) includes criteria that have been used for determining whether an explosion hazard exists in a building compartment. There is, however, genuine concern over the technical pedigree of those criteria. Federal governmental agencies have recently begun using NFPA 654 as a standard for assessing compliance with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act of 1970. This has precipitated a genuine concern that the criteria currently in NFPA 654 do not have sufficient technical justification to be used as a law enforcement criterion.
The objective of this project is to establish the technical basis for quantitative criteria for determining that a compartment is a “dust explosion hazard” that can be incorporated into NFPA 654 and other relevant safety codes and standards. Read the report, issued in June 2011, which presents the results of the Phase I portion of the study which is the development of a strawman method to assess the dust hazard.
The Fire Protection Research Foundation is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to plan, manage and communicate research in support of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) mission.