The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recently released a safety video titled “Combustible Dust: An Insidious Hazard,” which demonstrates the dangers of accumulating combustible dust particles and how they lead to catastrophic explosions that kill and maim workers and damage surrounding communities.
The video illustrates how combustible dust buildup lead to three major accidents that the CSB has investigated and it includes actual news footage and photographs from the events.
Combustible dusts are solids that have been ground down into small bits, fibers, particles or flakes that have the ability to ignite into flames when suspended in air under certain conditions. They exist in a variety of industries from sugar manufacturing to metal processing to recycling operations. Many times companies don’t realize the dangers that these particles present until it’s too late. According to OSHA, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions since 1980.
OSHA has recognized the dangers of these explosive particles for some time and earlier this year announced its plan to initiate a comprehensive rulemaking on combustible dust. In a statement made on April 29, 2009, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said, "Over the years, combustible dust explosions have caused many deaths and devastating injuries that could have been prevented. OSHA is reinvigorating the regulatory process to ensure workers receive the protection they need while also ensuring that employers have the tools needed to make their workplaces safer."
For details about current OSHA standards related to combustible dust as well as fact sheets, explanations and guidelines for preventing explosions, visit the OSHA Web site.
To access the new CSB combustible dust video you can visit the CSB Web site or you can view it on You Tube here. We think it does a great job of detailing the effects of this preventable workplace hazard and it does it in a captivating way.
– The MSDSonline Compliance Team