Dust Explosions--How to prevent them

Remembering the explosion and fire recently in the suburban Savannah, Georgia sugar mill, I thought this press release from BS&B was of great interest: BS&B PRESSURE SAFETY MANAGEMENT, L.L.C.  INTRODUCES EDUCATIONAL PAMPHLET TO POWDER HANDLING PLANTS ABOUT OSHA COMBUSTIBLE DUST NATIONAL EMPHASIS PROGRAM Pamphlet Provides Powder Handling Plant Officials with a Quick Reference to OSHA Directive TULSA, Okla. – May 13, 2008 – In response to frequent questions from powder handling plant officials regarding the OSHA “Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP)”, BS&B has created a pamphlet that summarizes the program’s key points.  The pamphlet explains housekeeping and equipment measures required to meet OSHA’s program standards, which closely mirror NFPA standards covering explosion prevention and protection (68-2007, 69-2008, 654-2006).                A copy of the pamphlet is available for download at www.bsbipd.com.  A hard copy of the pamphlet can be delivered while supplies last at No-Cost by emailing mktg@bsbsystems.com.    Also available at www.bsbipd.com is the 43-page “Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program” (NEP); document CPL 03-00-008 detailing the OSHA NEP program.             The OSHA Dust NEP and NFPA standards are considered Best Engineering Practices and are designed to protect facilities from combustible dust explosions.  These standards are typically adopted by state fire marshals, insurance companies, and consultants for citing best engineering practices in maintaining safe environments where explosion hazards exist.            About the OSHA National Emphasis Program           OSHA initiated the National Emphasis Program (NEP) to address the deflagration, other fire, and explosion hazards that may exist at facilities handling combustible dust. A combustible dust hazard study conducted by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) found that nearly 280 dust fires and explosions have occurred in U.S. industrial facilities over the past 25 years, resulting in 119 fatalities and over 700 injuries.  The purpose of this NEP is to inspect facilities that generate or handle combustible dusts which pose a deflagration or other fire hazard when suspended in air or some other oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations, regardless of particle size or shape; deflagrations can lead to explosions.