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“House Fires Caused By Storage of 9 Volt, AA Batteries In Junk Drawers & Other Places Rising”

* If You Know of a Fire Incident in Your Town Caused by 9 Volt, AA or AAA Battery Storage in a Home, Please Note it in the comments Section of this Post! Thank You!

Click here for the recent Hastings, Nebraska House Fire on January 16, 2017

If you are storing loose 9 volt or AA or other batteries in a kitchen drawer or a “junk” drawer in your home, watch how you store them. Above all don’t store them loose and rolling around with other metal items, like small tools, paper clips, nails and more of the lovely mix of things we keep in our junk drawers. You also don’t want them loose and rolling around in other items like a camera case, luggage, etc.

All you need to have happened is for a metal object like steel wool or a paper clip short out across the top of a 9-volt battery and ignite paper or other easily ignited materials and you’ll have a potential disaster in your home. As indicated in the YouTube Video below, it doesn’t take much to heat a metallic object or cause a spark in order to start a fire. *Please Do Not Do This At Home*

What to do with a 9 Volt Battery

I teach safety to the public, common sense tells most of us what to do in situations that could become life threatening. I speak to 50-60 people at a time about fire safety in the home on a monthly basis. I get the same reaction from every group when I hold up a 9-volt battery and announce that it is a fire hazard and it could burn down your house.

They all kinda look at me funny, as if to ask, “Did you just say a 9-volt battery could burn down my house?” That look is almost comical.

Q: Where do you store your batteries?

A: Throw them in  in a “junk” drawer

I then hold up a brillo pad. (just one example)

Q: What do you do with the batteries when you are done with them?

A: Throw them in the trash.

A 9-volt battery (see video) is a fire hazard because the positive and negative posts are on top, right next to one another. If this comes in contact with anything metal (aluminum foil, brillo, etc…) it will spark, and if there is a fuel for this spark you will have a fire. (fire needs heat, fuel and oxygen to burn) To test this theory, put a 9-volt battery or a couple of AA batteries in your pocket with some loose change or your key chain full of keys, (use common sense) this will bring on a whole new meaning to the words, Hot Pants.

When you dispose of this type of battery (positive and negative on top) Make sure it is safely wrapped in electrical tape or something to keep it separated from anything else that may come in contact with it. A small box or zip lock bag if kept in a junk drawer should suffice.  I have seen in some stores now that the manufacturers are now packaging them with plastic caps. If you need to purchase a 9-volt battery try to find those that are packaged in this manner.

Try to be just as diligent with AA or AAA batteries. Keep them in their original packaging if stored in a “junk drawer”. Don’t let them roll around freely with all the other wonderful miscellaneous items we unknowingly toss in the drawer and don’t think twice about it.

 

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“Why Lock-Out, Tag-Out IS Vitally Important” #LOTO #Safety

Caution: Somewhat Graphic Photo – Note: This Photo is the property of Jack Benton, and may not be used without written consent!

Why LOTO is Vitally Important 3

Why LOTO is Vitally Important 

Note: The photo above is not intended for page views or shock value as I don’t believe that those methods truly teach you anything in and of themselves. I don’t know the particulars of the above accident, but I do know that the lack of a proper lock out – tag out (control of hazardous energy) policy and procedure contributed to the accident.

This is always on OSHA’s Top 10 Violations list on a yearly basis, typically coming in at number 2 each year in the total number of times cited. Please use the training information below to keep your employees safe and involved in this process at your workplace.

Remember to AUDIT your procedures more than once per year. LOTO can be a difficult procedure especially when your job or facility has large manufacturing equipment such as a multi-employee operated mile long paper mill versus many single employee operated machines.

Hopefully, the Temp Worker Without LOTO Training who lost his life on the first day of his new job and the LOTO Webinar below, as well as the other resources further down the page will help you to put together an appropriate LOTO policy and procedure for your company.

Ninety minutes into his first day on the first job of his life, Day Davis was called over to help at Palletizer No. 4 at the Bacardi bottling plant in Jacksonville, Fla. What happened next is an all-too-common story for temp workers working in blue-collar industries. Read the investigation: http://www.propublica.org/article/tem..

The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) Full Webinar 2016

What is hazardous energy?

Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers.

What are the harmful effects of hazardous energy?

Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal! Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others.

  • A steam valve is automatically turned on burning workers who are repairing a downstream connection in the piping.
  • A jammed conveyor system suddenly releases, crushing a worker who is trying to clear the jam.
  • Internal wiring on a piece of factory equipment electrically shorts, shocking worker who is repairing the equipment.

Craft workers, electricians, machine operators, and laborers are among the 3 million workers who service equipment routinely and face the greatest risk of injury. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.

What can be done to control hazardous energy?

Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents in many industries. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from hazardous energy releases. OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout Fact Sheet* describes the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release. The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) for general industry outlines measures for controlling different types of hazardous energy. The LOTO standard establishes the employer’s responsibility to protect workers from hazardous energy. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures:

  • Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.147) for general industry, outlines specific action and procedures for addressing and controlling hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures. Workers must be trained in the purpose and function of the energy control program and have the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage and removal of the energy control devices.
  • All employees who work in an area where energy control procedure(s) are utilized need to be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedure(s), especially prohibition against attempting to restart or reenergize machines or other equipment that are locked or tagged out.
  • All employees who are authorized to lockout machines or equipment and perform the service and maintenance operations need to be trained in recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources in the workplace, the type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace, and the means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy.
  • Specific procedures and limitations relating to tagout systems where they are allowed.
  • Retraining of all employees to maintain proficiency or introduce new or changed control methods.

OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout Fact Sheet* describes the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent the release of hazardous energy.

The control of hazardous energy is also addressed in a number of other OSHA standards, including Marine Terminals (1917 Subpart C), Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring (1918 Subpart G), Safety and Health Regulations for Construction; Electrical (1926 Subpart K), Concrete and Masonry Construction (1926 Subpart Q), Electric Power Transmission and Distribution (1926 Subpart V), and General Industry; Electrical (1910 Subpart S), Special Industries (1910 Subpart R), and Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution (1910.269).

Highlights
  • Lockout-Tagout Interactive Training Program. OSHA eTool. Interactive tool to provide the user with an in-depth understanding of the LOTO standard, with three components: Tutorial, Hot Topics, and Case Studies.
  • Construction. OSHA eTool. Helps workers identify and control the hazards, including electrical hazards, that commonly cause the most serious construction injuries.
    • Electrical Incidents. Landing page for Electrical Incidents subpage of the Construction eTool, which identifies electrical hazards and recommends preventive measures.
  • Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution. OSHA eTool, (January, 2010). Assists workers in identifying and controlling workplace hazards.
Lockout/Tagout Concepts
Lockout/Tagout Program

Example elements of a lockout/tagout (LOTO) program are described in the OSHA standard for the control of hazardous energy (29 CFR 1910.147), along with these additional references.

Other Resources
Training
  • Lockout-Tagout Interactive Training Program. OSHA eTool. Interactive tool to provide the user with an in-depth understanding of the LOTO standard, with three components: Tutorial, Hot Topics, and Case Studies.
    • Case Studies. Presents a series of case studies for review, followed by related questions. Each of the case studies is based on descriptions of LOTO inspections derived from compliance interpretations, court decisions, Review Commission decisions, and inspection files.
  • Small Business Handbook (PDF). OSHA Publication 2209, (2005). Handbook is provided to owners, proprietors and managers of small businesses to assure the safety and health of workers.
  • Lockout/Tagout. National Ag Safety Database (NASD) Research Publications-11. Brief publication providing an overview of lockout/tagout, California laws and regulations, and training materials.
Additional Information
  • Fatality and Catastrophe Investigation Summaries. OSHA. Enables the user to search the text of Accident Investigation Summaries (OSHA-170 form) for words that may be contained in the text of the abstract or accident description.
  • Z244 Committee Information. American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
  • Safety Alert: Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout (LO/TO) Procedures in Shipyard Employment*. OSHA and Shipbuilders Council of America, National Shipbuilding Research Program, and American Shipbuilding Association Alliances (now the Shipbuilding Group Alliance) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association and American Society of Safety Engineers Alliances, (February 2009). Safety Alert Fact Sheet that provides information on how to protect employees from hazardous energy. Also available in Spanish*.
  • Safety Alert: Electrocution and Shock Hazards in Shipyard Employment*. OSHA and Shipbuilders Council of America, National Shipbuilding Research Program, and American Shipbuilding Association Alliances (now the Shipbuilding Group Alliance) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association and American Society of Safety Engineers Alliances, (February 2008). Safety Alert Fact Sheet that provides information on how to protect employees from electrocution and shock hazards. Also available in Spanish*.
Related Safety and Health Topics

“New NFPA Video Underscores Long-Lasting Realities Of Home Fire Survivors”

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On average, there are nearly 13,000 civilian fire injuries attributed to home fires each year.

In cooperation with the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, NFPA has produced a new video underscoring the painful aftermath of these injuries. Burn care specialists from the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center, one of the premier burn care hospitals in the U.S., detail the frequency of home fire injuries and painstaking recovery of burn survivors. Their stories help underscore the arduous recovery and procedures survivors endure post-fire.

The video is the latest produced for NFPA’s Faces of Fire Campaign, a component of NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative that helps humanize North America’s home fire problem and highlights the necessity of fire sprinklers in new homes. We will be releasing a second video from our interviews with the William Randolph Hearst Burn Center specialists in the next few weeks and will alert you when it’s available.

Please help us spread the word about this important video by: 
Sharing the video link directly on social media

Embedding the video directly on a web page [use this code: http://a%20class=]

Source: NFPA Xchange By:  Fred Durso on Jan 4, 2017

“Oakland Warehouse Dance Party Fire a Rare Disaster, But Troubling Trend Continues”

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In this age of modern building construction and fire codes, large loss-of-life fires in assembly occupancies just aren’t supposed to happen. But, for some reason, they continue to. I noticed a trend following The Station fire; I thought to myself, “Seems like it’s been about ten years since we’ve seen a fire like this.” I was close; it was 13 years.

The trend started with the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in Southgate, KY, which killed 165 people in 1977. Thirteen years later, in 1990, 87 people died in a fire at the Bronx, NY Happy Land social club. Another thirteen years later, in 2003, The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI, killed 100.

And here we are, thirteen years later, counting the dead in an electronic dance music party fire at a warehouse turned artist collective/residence/performance space in Oakland, CA known as “Ghost Ship;” the death toll currently stands at 36 and is expected to rise.

NFPA president Jim Pauley spoke to the New York Times about the role fire codes have played in making fires, such as the one that occurred Friday night, rare occurrences. There is no question that codes have come a long way over the last 40 or so years, and if they’re followed, the probability that a fire will have such devastating consequences is low. Today’s codes, like NFPA 101, require automatic sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and multiple, protected means of egress from large assembly spaces. (News outlets report the Oakland warehouse was not sprinklered, and means of egress from the second-floor assembly space was limited to a single stair; it is still very early in the investigation.)

So the question we, as fire protection and life safety professionals, must ask is, “Are we doing enough to prevent these tragedies?” Do the codes, as they stand today, provide a “reasonable” level of protection? If we do nothing, is it reasonable to expect that in thirteen years we will see another tragedy like the one this past weekend? Maybe it will be eight years, maybe eleven, but I think the answer is, “most likely.” The alternative is to do “something.” I don’t know what that “something” is. Do we pile more requirements onto the codes, effectively penalizing those who diligently comply with the requirements already on the books? And how effective would new requirements be? If building owners aren’t complying with today’s requirements, should we expect them to comply with new ones? What about enforcement? I know very well the budget constraints faced by municipal fire departments. State and local fire prevention agencies do tremendous work with their limited resources. It’s probably not reasonable to expect code enforcers to catch every illegal large assembly gathering.

The answer eludes me. And it’s troubling. I recently became the staff liaison for NFPA’s Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies, so this hits close to home. It’s my hope to get the conversation going so we can put an end to this trend. Or we can carry on, status-quo. If we do, history suggests we’ll see another large loss-of-life assembly occupancy fire. Probably in about 13 years, around 2029. I hope I’m wrong.

Source: by Gregory Harrington NFPA xChange

“Samsung Recalls 2.8 Million Top-Load Washing Machines Due to Risk of Impact Injuries”

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Recall date: November 4, 2016

Name of product:
Samsung top-load washing machines
Hazard:

The washing machine top can unexpectedly detach from the washing machine chassis during use, posing a risk of injury from impact.

Consumer Contact:

Samsung toll-free at 866-264-5636 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET, or online at www.Samsung.com and click on the recall notice at the top of the page for more information.

Recall Details
Units:
About 2.8 million
Description:

This recall involves 34 models of Samsung top-load washing machines.  The washing machines have mid-controls or rear-controls. Model numbers and serial information can be found on two labels affixed to the back of the machine. The following model numbers are included in the recall depending on the serial number. Consumers should check with Samsung to see if their washer is recalled.

Incidents/Injuries:

Samsung has received 733 reports of washing machines experiencing excessive vibration or the top detaching from the washing machine chassis.  There are nine related reports of injuries, including a broken jaw, injured shoulder, and other impact or fall-related injuries.

Remedy:

Consumers should contact Samsung immediately to receive one of the following remedy options. Consumers can choose (1) a free in-home repair that includes reinforcement of the washer’s top and a free one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty; (2) a rebate to be applied towards the purchase of a new Samsung or other brand washing machine, along with free installation of the new unit and removal of old unit; or (3) a full refund for consumers who purchased their washing machine within the past 30 days of the recall announcement.

All known consumers will also receive a Home Label Kit that includes a control panel guide and additional safety instructions in the mail.

Until they have received and installed a Home Label Kit, consumers should only use the delicate or waterproof cycles when washing bedding, water-resistant and bulky items.  The lower spin speed in the delicate or waterproof cycles lessens the risk of the washing machine top unexpectedly detaching from the washing machine chassis.

Sold At:

Best Buy, The Home Depot, Lowes, Sears and other home appliance stores nationwide from March 2011 to November 2016 for between $450 and $1,500.

Importer(s):

Samsung Electronics America Inc., of Ridgefield Park, N.J.

Distributor(s):

Samsung Electronics America Inc., of Ridgefield Park, N.J.

Manufactured In:
South Korea, China, and Thailand
Model Numbers Recalled  (Click on picture below for larger view)

“12,000 All Power Portable Generators Recalled by J.D. North America Due to Explosion, Fire and Burn Hazards”

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J.D. North America Corp., of Charlotte, N.C., is recalling about 12,300 All Power portable gasoline generators sold in the U.S. and Mexico.

The fuel tank can leak, posing explosion, fire and burn hazards.

The firm has received 21 reports of fuel leakage. No injuries or property damage have been reported.

This recall involves All Power portable gasoline generators with model numbers APGG6000 and APGG7500. The black and red generators have a black fuel tank on top of the units.

Model APGG6000 generators are rated at 6,000 watts and have UPC code 8 4676600055 3 and serial number JD29014S18035 through JD29014U020742. Model APGG7500 generators are rated at 7,500 watts and have UPC code 8 4676600056 0 and serial number JD42014S16027 through JD42014T210606.

The model number is located on both sides of the unit. The UPC code and serial number can be found on a silver plate on the upper right hand-side of the back side panel.

The generators, manufactured in China, were sold at Big Sandy Superstores, Family Farm & Home, Inc., Home Owners Bargain Outlet, Mills Fleet Farm Corp., Nexcom West Coast and other stores nationwide and online at Bluestem.com, BrandsmartUSA.com, HomeDepot.com, hoboonline.com, jbtoolsales.com and other online retailers from March 2014, through May 2016, for between $510 and $725.

What to do

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled generators and contact J.D. North America to schedule a free replacement fuel tank, including installation.

Consumers may contact J.D. North America toll-free at (844) 287-4655 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, by email at apggrecall@jdna.com, or online at www.allpoweramerica.com and click on the APGG Recall link for more information.

 

“Donnie’s Accident” – “I Was Too Good To Need My Safety Gear”

Donnie's Accident

On August 12, 2004, I was connecting large electrical generator in preparation for Hurricane Charlie. The meter I was using failed and blew carbon into the gear and created an electrical arc which resulted in an arc blast. The electrical equipment shown in the video is the actual equipment after the explosion when my co-workers were there trying to restore power and make temporary repairs. I ended up with full thickness, 3rd degree burns to both hands and arms along with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to my neck and face. I was in a coma for two months due to numerous complications from infections and medications.

During this time my family endured 4 hurricanes and the possibility of losing me. I am a husband, a father, a son and a brother, not just an electrician. It took almost two years of healing, surgeries and rehabilitation to only be able to return to work to an office job. I can’t use my hands and arms as well as I once could… BUT I’M ALIVE! There are those who have had similar accidents and fared much, much worse. I use my experiences to caution others.

All of this could have been avoided if I had been wearing my personal protection equipment (PPE), which I was fully trained to do and was in my work van. I would have probably only gone to the hospital for a checkup! I am asking you to protect yourself by following your safety procedures. Accidents at work not only affect you; think about the effects on your family, your friends, your finances, your company, your co-workers… your entire world.

Most of these injuries can be prevented by following the safety rules your company probably have in place. Most of these rules were put in place because of accidents like mine. Be safe, wear your PPE; not for fear of fines, penalties or getting fired. Be safe for yourself and for all the people close to you. I got a second chance… You might not!!! !!!

You can read a more in depth account of my accident on the “Full Story” page.

OSHA Arc Flash Safety Information
Understanding “Arc Flash” – Occupational Safety and Health …
https://www.osha.gov/…/arc_flash_han…

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Employees must follow the requirements of the Arc Flash Hazard label by wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), use of insulated tools and other safety related precautions. This includes not working on or near the circuit unless you are a “qualified” worker.

“U.S. Chemical Safety Board Releases New Safety Video, “Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” Detailing Report Findings and Recommendations on 2013 Fatal West Fertilizer Company Explosion and Fire “

January 29, 2016, Washington, DC – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a safety video into the fatal April 17, 2013, fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, which resulted in 15 fatalities, more than 260 injuries, and widespread community damage. The deadly fire and explosion occurred when about thirty tons of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) exploded after being heated by a fire at the storage and distribution facility.

The CSB’s newly released 12-minute safety video entitled, “Dangerously Close: Explosion in West, Texas,” includes a 3D animation of the fire and explosion as well as interviews with CSB investigators and Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland. The video can be viewed above or on the CSB’s website and YouTube.

Chairperson Sutherland said, “This tragic accident should not have happened. We hope that this video, by sharing lessons learned from our West Fertilizer Company investigation, will help raise awareness of the hazards of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate so that a similar accident can be avoided in the future.”

The CSB’s investigation found that several factors contributed to the severity of the explosion, including poor hazard awareness and fact that nearby homes and business were built in close proximity to the West Fertilizer Company over the years prior to the accident. The video explains that there was a stockpile of 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the facility in plywood bins on the night of the explosion. And although FGAN is stable under normal conditions, it can violently detonate when exposed to contaminants in a fire.

In the video, Team Lead Johnnie Banks says, “We found that as the city of West crept closer and closer to the facility, the surrounding community was not made aware of the serious explosion hazard in their midst. And the West Fertilizer Company underestimated the danger of storing fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate in ordinary combustible structures.”

The CSB investigation concludes that this lack of awareness was due to several factors, including gaps in federal regulatory coverage of ammonium nitrate storage facilities. The video details safety recommendations made to OSHA and the EPA to strengthen their regulations to protect the public from hazards posed by FGAN.

Finally, the video explains how inadequate emergency planning contributed to the tragic accident. The CSB found that the West Volunteer Fire Department was not required to perform pre-incident planning for an ammonium nitrate-related emergency, nor were the volunteer firefighters required to attend training on responding to fires involving hazardous chemicals. As a result, the CSB made several safety recommendations to various stakeholders, including the EPA, to better inform and train emergency responders on the hazards of FGAN and other hazardous chemicals.

Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “The CSB’s goal is to ensure that no one else be killed or injured due to a lack of awareness of hazardous chemicals in their communities. If adopted, the Board’s recommendations can help prevent disasters like the one in West, Texas.”

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. The Board does not issue citations or fines but makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, www.csb.gov

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at public@csb.gov or by phone at 202.446.8095.

 

“Combustible Dust: How Crackpots Endanger Safety”

Another good article from my good friend Phil La Duke.

Phil La Duke's Blog

By Phil La Duke

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Most of us know the dangers of combustible dust, how when there is a critical mass of fine explosive material—whether it be flour or sawdust—all it takes is a spark to set of  catastrophe.  But there is an equally dangerous situation in the world of safety, the combustible dust of thought.  Combustible Dust Thought is prevalent in LinkedIn discussion groups and other safety forums. I call it combustible dust thought because it’s old and dusty defense of obsolete or just plain simple-minded thinking and practices, and combustible because the old “safety by experience” “we don’t need no education” cranks who blow up at the merest mention of a new idea that isn’t theirs. The Crank Coxes of the world belch out bile and hatred of anything new in safety in bellicose mockery of the modern safety professional.

Take for example “Crank Cox” (a…

View original post 1,497 more words

“CSB Names Poor Design and Failure to Test Dust Collection System Among Causes of U.S. Ink New Jersey Flash Fire that Burned Seven Workers in 2012; OSHA Again Urged to Issue New Combustible Dust Regulations”

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OSHA Again Urged to Issue New Combustible Dust Regulations  

East Rutherford, New Jersey, January 15, 2015—The flash fire that burned seven workers, one seriously, at a U.S. Ink plant in New Jersey in 2012 resulted from the accumulation of combustible dust inside a poorly designed dust collection system that had been put into operation only four days before the accident, an View of Dust Collector at US Ink investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has found.

In a report released today and scheduled to be presented for board consideration at a CSB public meeting in East Rutherford this evening, the investigation team concludes that the system was so flawed it only took a day to accumulate enough combustible dust and hydrocarbons in the duct work to overheat, ignite spontaneously, cause an explosion in the rooftop dust collector, and send back a fiery flash that enveloped seven workers.

U.S. Ink is a subsidiary of Sun Chemical, a global graphic arts corporation which has some 9,000 employees worldwide. U.S. Ink manufactures black and color-based inks at seven U.S. locations including East Rutherford. A key step in the ink production process is mixing fine particulate solids, such as pigments and binders, with liquid oils in agitated tanks.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The findings presented in the CSB report under consideration show that neither U.S. Ink nor its international parent company, Sun Chemical, performed a thorough hazard analysis, study, or testing of the system before it was commissioned in early October 2012. The original design was changed, the original company engineer retired prior to completion of the project, and no testing was done in the days before the operation of the black-ink pre-mixing room production was started up.”

The CSB found that the ductwork conveyed combustible, condensable vapors above each of three tanks in the mixing room, combining with combustible particles of dust of carbon black and Gilsonite used in the production of black ink.

Investigation Supervisor Johnnie Banks said, “The closed system air flow was insufficient to keep dust and sludge from accumulating inside the air ducts.  But to make matters worse, the new dust collector design included three vacuuming hoses which were attached to the closed-system ductwork, used to pick up accumulated dust, dirt and other material from the facility’s floor and other level surfaces as a ‘housekeeping’ measure.  The addition of these contaminants to the system ductwork doomed it to be plugged within days of startup.”

The report describes a dramatic series of events that took place within minutes on October 9, 2012.  About 1 p.m., an operator was loading powdered Gilsonite, a combustible carbon-containing mineral, into the bag dump station near the pre-mixing room when he heard what he called a strange, squealing sound.  He checked some gauges in the control room, and as he was leaving he saw a flash fire originating from the bag dump where he had just been working.  He left to notify his supervisor.  At about that same time, other workers heard a loud thump that shook the building.

In response to the flash from the bag dump station and the thump, workers congregated at the entrance to the pre-mix room.  One worker spotted flames coming from one of the tanks.  He obtained a fire extinguisher but before he could use it, he saw an orange fireball erupt and advance toward him.  He squeezed the handle on the extinguisher as he jumped from some stairs, just as the flames engulfed him and six other employees who were standing in the doorway.

The CSB determined that overheating and spontaneous ignition which likely caused the initial flash fire at the bag dump was followed by ignition of accumulated sludge-like material and powdery dust mixture of Gilsonite and carbon black in the duct work above tank 306.  Meantime, the dust collection system, which had not been turned off, continued to move burning material up toward the dust collector on the building’s roof, where a sharp pressure rise indicated an imminent explosion. This was contained by explosion suppression equipment, but the resulting pressure reversed the air flow, back to the pre-mix room, where a second flash fire occurred, engulfing the workers.

Investigation Supervisor Banks said, “The new system was not thoroughly commissioned.  There was no confirmation of whether the system would work as configured, missing opportunities to find potential hazards.  The design flaws were not revealed until the dust explosion.”

The report’s safety management analysis points to a lack of oversight by company engineers of the work done by installation contractors. The company chose not to perform a process hazard analysis or management of change analysis – required by company policy for the installation of new processing equipment – because it determined it was merely replacing a previous dust collection system in kind.  However, the new system in fact was of an entirely different design.

Considering the emergency response following the flash fire and dust collector explosion, CSB Investigators found that while workers had received training in emergency response situations, they did not follow those procedures, because U.S. Ink had not developed and implemented an effective hazard communication and response plan.  A fire coordinator was designated to use the public address system to announce a fire and also pull the alarm box. But because the system was not shut down immediately after the first flash fire, he was among the injured and could not perform his duties.

The CSB report’s regulatory analysis highlights the need for a national general industry combustible dust standard which the agency has long recommended that OSHA promulgate, putting in on the CSB’s “Most Wanted” list in 2013, following years of urging action as dust explosions continued to occur in industry.  The report, if adopted by the board, would reiterate the CSB’s original recommendation to OSHA, and also recommend OSHA broaden the industries it includes in its current National Emphasis Program on mitigating dust hazards, to include printing ink manufacturers.

Chairperson Moure-Eraso said, “Although OSHA’s investigation of this accident deemed it a combustible dust explosion, it did not issue any dust-related citations, doubtless hampered by the fact that there is no comprehensive combustible dust regulatory standard.  In U.S. Ink’s case – and thousands of other facilities with combustible dust – an OSHA standard would likely have required compliance with National Fire Protection Association codes that speak directly to such critical factors as dust containment and collection, hazard analysis, testing, ventilation, air flow, and fire suppression.”

The CSB report notes that the volume of air flow and the air velocity in the company’s dust collection system was significantly below industry recommendations – which, in the absence of a federal combustible dust regulation, are essentially voluntary.  The report states the ductwork design did not comply in several respects with guidelines set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Industrial Ventilation Manual.  Nor did the system’s design, the CSB said, comply with the voluntary requirements of NFPA 91, which states: “All ductwork shall be sized to provide the air volume and air velocity necessary to keep the duct interior clean and free of residual material.”

Chairperson Moure-Eraso said, “A national combustible dust standard would include requirements to conform to what are now largely voluntary industry guidelines and would go far in preventing these dust explosions.”

The report cites gaps in New Jersey’s regulatory system, noting the state’s Uniform Construction Code Act has adopted the International Building Code (which references NFPA dust standards) but has also exempted “manufacturing, production and process equipment.”  A proposed CSB recommendation to New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs calls on the regulatory agency to revise the state’s administrative code to remove this exemption so that dust handling equipment would be designed to meet national fire code requirements.  The state is also urged to implement training for local code officials as local jurisdictions enforce the code, and to promulgate a regulation that requires all occupancies handling hazardous materials to inform the local enforcement agency of any type of construction or installation of equipment at an industrial or manufacturing facility.

Chairperson Moure-Eraso said, “Events leading to this accident began even before the earliest planning stages, when the company failed to properly oversee the design, construction and testing of a potentially hazardous system.  The victims have suffered the consequences.  We hope our recommendations are adopted so that these terrifying industrial dust explosion accidents will stop.”

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, cell 202-446-8094 or Sandy Gilmour, Public Affairs, cell 202-251-5496.

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