The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced it had cited a company for exposing employees to potential grain dust explosions and other hazards at an animal feed mill facility in Wisconsin. OSHA cited the company for one willful and two serious violations.
According to OSHA, an investigation found the company had failed to implement a housekeeping program to control and remove combustible dust accumulations that occur during storage of grain materials and manufacturing of animal feed. The agency also cited the company for failing to maintain grain-processing equipment.
Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under certain conditions. They can be a potentially deadly hazard for workers and can cause massive destruction to a facility. OSHA reports that five elements are necessary to initiate a dust explosion, often referred to as the Dust Explosion Pentagon. The first three elements are those needed for a fire, i.e., the familiar Fire Triangle:
- Combustible dust (fuel)
- Ignition source (heat)
- Oxygen in air (oxidizer)
An additional two elements must be present for a combustible dust explosion:
- Dispersion of dust particles in sufficient quantity and concentration
- Confinement of the dust cloud
“Combustible dust hazards are a threat to many different industries,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Some of the industries listed by OSHA include agriculture, chemicals, food (e.g., candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed), grain, fertilizer, tobacco, plastics, wood, forest, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, tire and rubber manufacturing, dyes, coal, metal processing (e.g., aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium and zinc), recycling operations, and fossil fuel power generation (coal). Monitoring indoor conditions is critical for industries at risk to prevent a combustible dust explosion.”
EMSL Analytical, Inc. provides key components for any safety program designed to identify potential combustible dust dangers, testing and monitoring. The scientists at EMSL provide comprehensive combustible dust testing services and real-time air monitoring instruments. EMSL has also sponsored an educational video about combustible dust hazards that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/xX0apupkO3E.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 45 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC's, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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