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Mon, 7 May 2012 10:51:29 EST 2012 has been a challenging year for the wood processing industry across North America. There have already been two sawmill explosions and fires in Canada that have resulted in dozens of injuries and killed four workers. The suspected culprit in both cases was combustible dust.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 'In addition to the health effects of wood dust, airborne dust can create the potential for a dust explosion.'
One theory regarding the recent accidents is concerns over that the wood that is being processed. Due to a pine beetle infestation that has killed countless trees, the logs are exceptionally dry increasing combustible dust hazards. Others look to the cleaning practices at the mills. According to one recent report, a union representative stated that because of the recent economic downturn clean-up crews had been reduced.
'A dust explosion, whether in a sawmill, grain silo or manufacturing facility can be catastrophic and cause employee deaths, injuries and the destruction of entire structures,' stated Stuart Bagley, MS, CIH, CSP, President of IAQ Services USA, a leading IAQ and combustible dust consulting firm. 'Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under the right conditions. In many combustible dust accidents, employers and employees might not have even been aware that a hazard existed. Other times they think it simply can't happen to them. It is imperative that industries that have a high risk of combustible dust explosions have qualified professionals inspect, document and test for hazards to prevent these tragic events,' he continued.
IAQ Services USA recently sponsored an online video about combustible dust hazards. It can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX0apupkO3E
Mr. Bagley is a Board Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Safety Professional (CSP). He is a former OSHA Compliance Safety & Health Officer (CSHO) and has over 25 years of experience in health and safety in the corporate and government sectors.
To learn more about combustible dust hazards or other environmental, indoor air quality or healthy and safety issues, please visit http://www.IndoorAirSite.com, email info@IndoorAirSite.com or call (800) 862-9655.
About IAQ Services USA
IAQ Services USA is a full service consulting firm specializing in the areas of indoor air quality, environment, health and safety. IAQ Services USA provides consulting and testing services for indoor air quality, air toxins, noise exposure, industrial hygiene, OSHA compliance and electromagnetic fields (EMF). These services are provided to clients ranging from local companies and institutions to International Fortune 500 Corporations.
2012 has been a challenging year for the wood processing industry across North America. There have already been two sawmill explosions and fires in Canada that have resulted in dozens of injuries and killed four workers. The suspected culprit in both cases was combustible dust.