Cell Phones Aren’t the Problem, Static Is

You may have seen the warnings on Facebook about staying off your cell phone while pumping gas. The warnings claim the cell phones can generate sparks that ignite the gasoline fumes. Problem is that there isn’t a simple instance of this actually happening. The example used on the Facebook warning references an explosion in Adelaide in Australia. There was, indeed an explosion but it wasn’t caused by a cell phone it was caused by static electricity.

Gas

The fact is that static electricity, most often acquired when the person pumping the gas climbed back in the vehicle for some reason, has been credited with at least 150 fires at the gas pump since researchers started tracking this phenomenon.

To protect against static electricity explosions at the pump, here are a few safety tips:

  1. Don’t climb back into your vehicle while pumping gas.
  2. Make sure you touch the metal on your vehicle to dissipate any static electricity you might have built up.
  3. Do not “top off” the tank. Besides the fact that it actually gives you worse mileage instead of more miles per tank, it also creates a lot of extra fumes. Fumes, by the way, is what is flammable.
  4. If you are filling a container make sure it is an approved gas can and make sure it is sitting on the ground when you fill it to keep static electricity from building up. It should NEVER be sitting in the trunk or inside the vehicle.

Understanding how static electricity fires start at the gas pump and understanding how to prevent them is essential for refueling safety.






Gunpowder Plant Sentenced for Blast that Killed Two

Craig Sanborn, the owner of the Black Mag gunpowder plant in Colebrook, NH was sentenced last week to 10 to 20 years in prison. It was determined by the jury after only 3 hours of deliberation, that Craig Sanborn was guilty of manslaughter for putting profits over safety when he failed to take safety measures or provide any safety training for his employees. The explosion that killed 2 employees, Donald Kendall (56) and Jesse Kennett (49) was deemed to be a result of Craig Sanborn’s negligence. The sentencing was 5 – 10 years for each of the employees that were killed which means that Craig will be going away for at least 10 years.

Worker safety can never be sacrificed for the benefit of production, and workers’ lives are not – and must never be – considered part of the cost of doing business. We categorically reject the false choice between profits and safety.” said the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.


Brackets on vehicles can wear on fire extinguishers

FIRE EXTINGUISHER EXPLODES

What Happened

A fire extinguisher (top picture – left) was attached to a bulldozer in a typical metal holder (lower pictures). The bolts which held the bracket in place, over time, wore the tank to the failure point. The extinguisher tank failed and exploded. The extinguisher tore out of the holder and flew nearly 100 feet. Although this incident occurred at night when the job was not active and no one was injured the potential is enormous. Subsequent inspections of all fire extinguishers on the project found several with significant wear and stress cracking (top picture right). This wear found during the inspections was caused by the securing bolts, straps and bottom of bracket. Additional problems were discovered with extinguishers that were corroded in various places on the tank, particularly the bottoms. This problem is particular prevalent with extinguishers attached to moving equipment as in this case.

FIRE-EXTINGUISHER-EXPLODES

Prevention:

MIOSHA Part 18 “Fire Protection and

Prevention” states “An extinguisher shall be

inspected monthly, or at more frequent intervals

when circumstances require

When conducting an inspection check for

external damage, corrosion and stress cracks. In the case discussed above the damage caused by the bolts would have been hard to see while the extinguisher was in the holder. The units should be removed so that all surfaces can be checked.

Check that the pressure gauge is in the green area and that the pin is still in-place and secured with a tie-wrap.

Defective or damaged extinguishers should be immediately removed from service and discharged if appropriate.

All inspections must be recorded and available for inspection by either a MIOSHA compliance officer or a representative of the local fire authority.

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Joe Forgue CSP, ARM
Director of Education and Safety Services
CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN (CAM)
forgue@cam-online.com


CSB Releases New Safety Video on 2011 Explosion and Fire During Fireworks Disposal Activities

From the CSB website:

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CSB - U.S. CHEMICAL SAFETY BOARD -- An independent federal agency investigating chemical accidents to protect workers, the public, and the environment

CSB Releases New Safety Video on 2011 Explosion and Fire that Killed Five Workers during a Fireworks Disposal Operation in Hawaii

January 18, 2013

Investigation Details:
Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. Fatal Fireworks Disassembly Explosion and Fire

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board today released a new safety video depicting the events leading up to an explosion and fire that killed five workers during a fireworks disposal operation in Waipahu, Hawaii. The new video, entitled “Deadly Contract” features a new HD animation depicting highly explosive firework components igniting inside a tunnel-like magazine.

The video, which details the findings and safety recommendations resulting from the Board’s final report, was approved January 17 at a public meeting in Washington, DC. The DEI investigation report concludes that the explosion and fire resulted from unsafe disposal practices, insufficient safety requirements for government contractor selection and oversight and an absence of adequate federal regulations, standards, and guidelines for safe fireworks disposal.

In the video CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso says, “Fireworks have been around for centuries, so we were surprised to learn that there are no good-practice procedures for their disposal. And we also found that the federal government did not require fireworks disposal contractors to demonstrate that they could perform the work safely.”

The April 8, 2011, incident occurred as employees of Donaldson Enterprises, Inc. (DEI) sought shelter from rain inside a storage magazine located in Waipahu, Hawaii, near Honolulu. The storage facility contained government-confiscated, illegally labeled fireworks, which the workers had been dismantling under a subcontract to a federal prime contract. To conduct this work, DEI personnel cut into the fireworks and separated out the aerial shells and black powder – a highly explosive mixture of chemicals used to propel the fireworks into the air. The accumulation of aerial shells and black powder greatly increased the explosion hazard.

The video includes an interview with Mr. Ali Reza, an explosives expert that worked with the CSB on its investigation. In the video Mr. Rezas says, ”As you’re physically breaking up the fireworks…you’re exposing yourself to the black powder. Once you have loose black powder in contact with materials that can create friction, an ignition is extremely likely.”

CSB Investigator Amanda Johnson states, “While the exact ignition source could not be determined, strong possibilities include friction from an office chair rolling over the loose explosive powder on the magazine floor, or a metal spark from a hand truck, which was blown over 100 feet from the magazine entrance when the explosion occurred.”

The final report notes that OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard applies to fireworks manufacturing, but not to fireworks disposal work. The investigation determined, “DEI would have greatly benefitted from Process Safety Management (PSM) principles and concepts of inherent safety,” among them, not accumulating large amounts of highly explosive black powder and aerial shells while awaiting disposal.

Investigator Amanda Johnson said, “The CSB found the root causes of the explosion went far beyond DEI’s flawed procedures. For instance, we found there are no federal, state or local codes, regulations or standards that establish safety requirements or provide guidance on proper ways to dispose of fireworks.”

As a result of the report’s findings the CSB is recommending that federal agencies develop a new government-wide safety and environmental responsibility requirement for contractors, and calls for new regulations on the safe disposal of fireworks, a growing problem across the US.

The CSB released its final report and formal safety recommendation at a public meeting in Washington, DC on January 17, 2013.

The video is available to stream or download on http://www.csb.gov and may be viewed on the CSB’s YouTube channel, USCSB (www.youtube.com/uscsb).

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, http://www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact CSB Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, cell 202 446.8094, or Sandy Gilmour, cell 202.251.5496.

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U.S. Chemical Safety Board | 2175 K Street NW | Washington, DC 20037 | www.csb.gov

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CSB Releases New Safety Video on Fatal Hot Work Explosion at DuPont Facility in Buffalo; Hot Work: Hidden Hazards Shows Danger of Inadequate Gas Monitoring

CSB - U.S. CHEMICAL SAFETY BOARD -- An independent federal agency investigating chemical accidents to protect workers, the public, and the environment

CSB Releases New Safety Video on Fatal Hot Work Explosion at DuPont Facility in Buffalo; Hot Work: Hidden Hazards Shows Danger of Inadequate Gas Monitoring Safety Video Follows Release of the CSBs Investigative Report Approved at a Public Meeting Yesterday in Buffalo, New York

April 20, 2012

Investigation Details:
E. I. DuPont De Nemours Co. Fatal Hotwork Explosion

DuPont_Animation_4x32.jpg

Washington DC, April 20, 2012 The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released a new safety video detailing a fatal 2010 hot work accident that occurred at the DuPont facility near Buffalo, New York.

The video, entitled Hot Work: Hidden Hazards features a computer animation showing how hot work being conducted on top of a tank led to a deadly explosion that killed one contractor and injured another.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, This is another in our series of safety videos in wide use in industry throughout the world; our hope is that this dramatic depiction will result in greater emphasis in safety during hot work activities like welding and grinding.

In the video, Dr. Moure-Eraso notes that, The tragic explosion at the DuPont facility exposed weaknesses in how process hazards were analyzed and controlled. The result was the death of a welder in a preventable hot work accident. In the video Chairperson Moure-Eraso emphasizes that hot work is often seen as a routine activity, but it can prove deadly if fire and explosion hazards are overlooked.
The 11-minute video details the events leading up to the accident noting thatalthough DuPont personnel monitored the atmosphere above the tank, no monitoring was done to see if any flammable vapor was inside the tank. The CSB investigation found the hot work ignited the vapor as a result of the increased temperature of the metal tank, sparks falling into the tank, or vapor wafting from the tank into the hot work area. The welder died instantly from blunt force trauma, and a foreman received first-degree burns and minor injuries.

CSB Investigator Mark Wingard says in the video, We found that the contractors did obtain hot work permits for welding, but those permits were authorized by DuPont employees who were unfamiliar with the specific hazards of the process and did not require testing the atmosphere inside the tanks.

The CSB released its final report and formal safety recommendation at a news conference and public meeting in Buffalo on April 19.
The video is available to stream or download on www.CSB.gov and may be viewed on the CSBs YouTube channel, USCSB (www.youtube.com/uscsb).
The CSBs safety videos continue to garner awards, including three recent Peer Awards given by the Television, Internet & Video Association of Washington, DC in November 2011. The CSB video program was specifically cited when the CSB was named the 2008 recipient of the American Chemical Societys (ACS) Howard Fawcett Award, honoring outstanding contributions in the field of chemical health and safety, marking the first time the 25-year-old award has been presented to an entire organization.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov
For more information, contact CSB Communications Manager Hillary Cohen at 202.261.3601, cell 202 446.8094, or Sandy Gilmour, cell 202.251.5496.

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