Online Safety Community

Wood Flour Dust Explosion/Fire. Excellent explanation by Fire Chief Andy Mason of process materials, situations, and conditions.

Factory fire causes $350,000 damage

Gary Huffenberger, Staff Writer, Wilmington News Journal did an excellent job in reporting the incident so as to provide the public with the specifics of the process. Additionally, Wilmington Fire Chief
Andy Mason shared with Gary important information that assists in understanding probability of occurrence throughout the manufacturing sector.

Views: 438

Replies to This Discussion

The weak link in addressing combustible dust related fires and explosions in the workplace is at the local jurisdictional level. The above example provides stakeholders an excellent example idea of how EHS professional must attempt to educate the media and fire protection professionals concerning combustible dust hazard awareness. The majority of news accounts of ComDust workplace incidents never provide the detailed information that Gary and Andy shared.
Another major dust related event in a process with many similar operating steps to general powder handling processes. It was interesting to read about the "ductwork explosions"; this is often forgotten when combustible dust process hazards are being assessed. Thanks for sharing, John.
I have protected many of these wood flour producers. This fire was likely caused by the dryer. Although many fires are also started in the grinding process.

For a wood flour composite extrusion process like this, they will typically dry wood flour to almost the combustion point, creating a highly flammable combustible dust in the process. They will typically use pneumatic conveying of the dried wood flour from the dryer. Depending on how the conveying, collection and storage systems are designed, this wood flour can also agglomerate and create build-up and stalactites within the ductwork at any joints, elbows and transitions, and also any joints or squared corners of the dust separator or collector. These stalactites and build-up can superheat in the hot air stream from the dryer, creating red hot ignition points within the ductwork and collector. Many times for humidity reasons, these dust collectors are located inside the building.

So you can see that super heated combustible dust within the dust collection or storage equipment can easily combust at many points in the process, be transported to other points in the process, and can also start to degrade and superheat within the storage bin. Without proper process and safety system design, this process is a time bomb. They have many of the same issues in the wood pellet and MDF industries - any process where they are grinding and drying wood flour.

In the process described in the article, wood flour is then mixed with other polymers, and extruded into plastic-wood decking, and other components.

Employees will often say afterward that they heard small booms or smelled smoke, but could not find the source. These are precursors to an event described in the article.

This process needs a process design and safety system design review; Fire Prevention equipment like Spark Detection and Suppression systems on all of the ductwork, and CO detection within storage bins; Fire Protection Equipment like sprinkler and deluge systems in the collectors and silos; Explosion Prevention and Protection equipment like venting and suppression in all critical collectors and storage equipment.
Agree with your assessment, Jeffrey.
Your welcome Antoni. Thanks Jeff for providing the excellent overview concerning layers of protection.
Thank you gentlemen, always appreciate feedback from my peers. We are all in this fight together.
John; this brings back to mind the OSHA hearings on the proposed ComDust regs. Any guess as to when we can expect the actually regs to be acted upon by Congress. Thanks.
Antoni, OSHA is still holding stakeholder meetings in an attempt to acquire additional input concerning a proposed regulation. In contrast, Congress is not aggressively pursuing legislation while OSHA is in the rulemaking stages.


Take our poll!

Take our poll!

Latest Activity

Mark Nilson posted an event

Guidelines for Performing a Vendor Audit with an emphasis on Construction Audit at Training Doyens 26468 E Walker Dr,Aurora, Colorado

April 3, 2018 from 1pm to 2:30pm
OVERVIEWVendor/Contract audits require a certain skill set to understand the terms and conditions of a contract between a Company and any given vendor where products or services are outsourced.  Understanding the risks that are inherent within them is the first step in developing audit objectives and steps. The primary focus of the audit is the vendor (third party) activities pertinent to a contract. A majority of the fieldwork on these types of audits will likely be performed at the Vendor’s…See More
14 hours ago
gracylayla posted an event

How to begin your career in IBM API Connect? at 4608 Spalding, plano TX 75024 United States

February 19, 2018 to February 19, 2019
IBM API Connect is a complete API lifecycle management solution that will make things easier for developers, Central IT, and LoB Management. The thought behind API Connect is that APIs are small data applications, often called microservices, but they are applications nonetheless.IBM API Management with a built-in gateway, allowing you to create, run, manage, and secure APIs and Microservices. API Connect is the first of its kind: a unified end-to-end API management solution that enables the…See More
14 hours ago
John Robinson posted a blog post

Risk Management in the Global Economy and outlook for 2017

Risk management in the global economy is a highly challenging field for risk managers from any part of the world. With most of the world’s countries almost becoming part of the global economy in this era of globalization; it is emerging that risks that apply to one part any one nation’s or group of…See More
16 hours ago
Training Doyens posted an event

Hot Issues in Multi-State & Internet Sales Tax at 26468 E Walker Dr, Aurora, Colorado 80016-6104

March 13, 2018 from 1pm to 2pm
OVERVIEWStates are tense. They need more revenue.Millions of dollars of internet sales occur daily without tax.  The states want their money. In just 90 minutes, learn the different ways your company triggers nexus on itself and what it must do to comply with state regulations.WHY SHOULD YOU ATTENDWill I owe taxes in more than one state for the same sale? Must I charge tax on my internet sales?  Why is my drop shipper charging me tax?  Why did I receive a NEXUS Questionnaire and what if I don’t…See More
16 hours ago

Discussion Forum

Homework Assignment for the ComDust group

"fire was contained to the dust collector.." Homework for the group-Is NAICS: 332111/Iron and Steel Forging in the OSHA ComDust NEP?Helpful resource for group homework assignment: Combustible Dust…Continue

Tags: combustible dust, OSHA, NEP., NAICS

Started by John Astad Jan 10, 2011.

Wood Dust Shaker dust collectors 7 Replies

I am currently doing a study on wood shop dust collectors. The majority of the installations are shaker style with the tube sheet located on the bottom. ie the dirty air flows inside the filter bag.…Continue

Started by John E. BAchynski. Last reply by Jeffrey Nichols Nov 7, 2010.

Combustible Dust Testing (Appendix E) Consultancy - Nanoview Associates LLC 2 Replies

This is Robert T Dombrowski - President / Principal Scientist of Nanoview Associates (NVA) LLCNanoview Associates (NVA) LLC offers a wide range of scientific / technical consulting services that help…Continue

Started by Robert T Dombrowski. Last reply by Robert T Dombrowski Feb 11, 2010.

OSHA Ventilation Standard Revise for Combustible Dust 1 Reply


Tags: Bureau, U.S., of, Mines, Standard

Started by John Astad. Last reply by Fred Ravenscraft Jan 20, 2010.



© 2018   Created by Safety Community.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service