Combustible materials can burn quickly. When in dust form, some can explode when suspended in the air in certain concentrations and under the right circumstances.
A wide variety of materials can be explosive in dust form. Some of these materials include tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, metals, fossil fuels, and food such as sugar, spice, starch, flour, or feed.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) advises employers to protect workers by identifying any combustible dusts in the workplace and developing plans and procedures to help prevent explosions. Facilities assessing the potential for dust explosions may find the following possible hazards:
• Materials that are explosive when in dust form
• Activities that use, consume, or produce combustible dusts
• Open and hidden areas where combustible dusts may build up
• Activities that cause dusts to spread into the air
• Potential ignition sources
Once these risk factors are identified, employers can help reduce the risk of fires and explosions by controlling dust and ignition sources and training employees to recognize and take action against hazards. Some guidelines offered by OSHA for controlling dusts include:
• Minimize the escape of dust from equipment, power tools, or ventilation systems by using dust collection systems and filters
• Use surfaces that are easy to clean and minimize dust accumulation
• Provide access to all hidden areas to allow for inspection
• Regularly inspect for dust residues in open and hidden areas
• Regularly clean dust residues
• When ignition sources are present, use cleaning methods that do not create dust clouds
• Only use vacuum cleaners approved for dust collection
• Position relief valves away from dust hazard areas
• Develop and put into effect frequent hazardous dust inspections, testing, housekeeping, and control programs, preferably in writing
OSHA also provides recommendations for controlling ignition sources that might cause combustible dusts to explode. Some of these recommendations are:
• Use proper electrical equipment and wiring methods
• Control static electricity, including bonding of equipment to ground, smoking, open flames, sparks, and friction
• Keep materials with the potential to ignite separate from dusts and process materials
• Keep dusts away from heated surfaces and systems
• Use industrial trucks and cartridge activated tools properly
• Ensure all equipment is properly maintained
Well trained employees can be the strongest line of defense against dust explosions. When the workers who are closest to potential hazards are educated on the risks of combustible dust, they can play an important role in recognizing unsafe conditions, taking precautions, and alerting management.
According to OSHA, damage and danger produced by an explosion can be minimized by isolating the hazard, proper venting of workspaces and equipment, installing explosion protection, sprinkler, or specialized suppression systems, and providing spark and ember detection and extinguishing systems. Safeguard work crews against fires and explosions caused by combustible dust with the proper training, fire safety equipment, and first aid supplies.
Universal application and a bag that can be carried right to the spill make the NS® Universal Sorbent Duffel Spill Kit an effective, convenient, and economical choice to help employers prepare for spills.
This handy kit allows convenient transport of sorbents in a sturdy, easy-to-see yellow duffle bag. It offers compact storage and durable grab-and-go handles so responders can get to a spill quickly.
The NS® Spill Control Universal Sorbent Duffle Spill Kit absorbs up to 15 gallons and can be used for water- and oil-based liquids, including cutting fluids, lubricants, and coolants. The kit contains:
• 5 socks help contain spills and they can be molded or shaped to fit tight areas
• 30 pads are ideal for wiping up and absorbing spills, drips, and leaks
• 4 pillows provide a large surface and allow fast pick-up of larger spills
• 5 bags hold used sorbents for disposal
Be ready with a variety of sorbents and spill control when potentially harmful liquids spill or leak. Whether it contains oils, water, or both, the NS® universal sorbent duffle spill kit has it covered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a number of tips to help workers reduce their risk of injury or illness during the summer months, which include preventing harm done by the sun, dealing with extreme heat, and coping with insects.
In order to protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, it is important to stay out of the sun by avoiding unnecessary exposure during the hottest times of the day. Wearing a broad-rimmed hat and a light, long-sleeve shirt can drastically reduce the chances of sunburn and eye damage.
Wearing sunscreen with a high SPF rating is also a proven way to ward off the negative effects of the sun.
Those who work outside at construction sites or in agriculture fields are at high risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can significantly impair a worker servicing safety equipment and machinery. To avoid this, employers should allow flexibility in work arrangements so that rests may be taken. In addition, they should make sure that a first aid kit is on hand so workers have the necessary items to handle small-scale medical situations.
Another hazard of outdoor working is the threat of insect bites and stings, which could possibly endanger the lives of workers. When working around potentially harmful insects, it is important to wear work gloves and the proper footwear and clothing to prevent being stung or bitten.
Excessive sweating can cause employees to lose important minerals their bodies need to function properly. Safeguard workers in hot weather by offering heat stress relief with Medi-Lyte electrolyte tablets.
Each tablet contains calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, and magnesium oxide – essential active ingredients that ease muscle cramping and fatigue caused by electrolyte loss through sweating. Tablets have no added sodium and are lactose- and sugar-free to accommodate employees with various health concerns.
Medique® Medi-Lyte Electrolyte Replenisher Tablets are a convenient choice for hot work environments. A handy dispenser box comes stocked with 50 individually wrapped doses of two tablets each. Instructions are printed on each package to ensure proper use and tablets are coated, making them easy to swallow.
Help workers control heat stress and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke by replenishing lost electrolytes. Maintain employee health and productivity in hot temperatures by providing drinks, shade, breaks, and heat stress relief products like Medi-Lyte electrolyte tablets.
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