Companies prepare for new OSHA combustible dust program

April 14, 2008 — /PRWEB/ — Jupiter, FL — In October 2007, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had issued a new directive CPL 03-00-006 to address fires and dust explosion hazards that may exist at facilities handling combustible dust.

Due to the recent increase in dust explosion losses and fatalities, OSHA has stepped up their auditing process to which this document focuses. This new directive describes enforceable policies and procedures regarding inspection of facilities that handle combustible dust. As a result, OSHA intends on conducting an extensive amount of complex process and safety management inspections at randomly select facilities.

Facilities will be randomly selected for inspection. These inspections will be similar to the OSHA inspection program for refineries, which began in June 2007.

Any company that handles powders and bulk solids is susceptible to inspection. Many, if not all, are scrambling to prepare for the pending investigations. Despite the fines that might be imposed for not passing an inspection, there are significant and very real risks involving dust explosions, which include the initial blast, secondary fires, loss of life, and significant loss of process revenue.

“You can’t completely eliminate the danger, but a risk analysis can certainly reduce probability and severity of an industrial dust explosion,” says David Cvetas, president of Cv Technology, a global leader in dust explosion protection and consulting. “What we’re seeing now is the bar being raised on the standards necessary for compliance to that risk.”

In addition to providing strategic consulting to examine and assess the risk of dust explosion, CV Technology manufactures products that are designed to prevent or mitigate dust explosions. Isolation valves; rupture discs and panels; and flameless vents are custom tailored to minimize, and in some cases prevent, any damage or other interruptions to the process if an explosion were to happen.

Regulations aside, a professionally-conducted risk analysis can identify many potential sources of dust explosions before they occur. Companies now are not only preventing potential loss of life, but also protecting their assets and valuable process revenue from dust explosions.

“Every top corporate officer or CEO needs to have a thorough business-impact analysis so that they understand just how and where their enterprise is vulnerable. If there are combustible dust vulnerabilities, they need to determine what strategies will mitigate or control those vulnerabilities,” says Cvetas. “Paramount to all this, human lives are at risk, and reducing that risk is what’s most important.”

Other areas of advanced preparation include emergency response to stabilize the situation following an incident; ongoing dust explosion protection awareness and training programs; public relations and crisis coordination; and plans for communicating with employees, customers, suppliers, and stockholders during a crisis.



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