It is important that employers review their operations and address any compliance deficiencies related to the fire, deflagration and explosion hazards of combustible dust. For items that will require time to complete, prepare a plan to achieve compliance in a reasonable period of time. The plan should include interim measures to reduce the risk of injury from the hazard until the permanent controls are implemented.
Below is a summary of Attachment D – Sources of Information, which was sent to employers.
Click on each area to see the summary for that title.
WorkSafeBC is sharing all pertinent information that emerges during the course of their investigations into the Babine and Lakeland explosions. Under the heading ‘More Information‘, there is a link to industry resources, including two hazard alerts – ‘Combustible Dust Winter Alert – Increased Risk in Winter’ and ‘Gear Reducer Hazard.’
BC Safety Authority has created a combustible dust landing page that is accessible directly from its website and collects, into one site, all its combustible dust related information.
After the mill explosions, CEOs from the major wood products manufacturing companies in British Columbia gathered to create a plan for improving safety through the Manufacturers' Advisory Group (MAG). The United Steelworkers supported their efforts and joined with them. They worked with experts and other stakeholders to develop a set of clear, comprehensive and auditable standards that will provide assurance that conditions in mills across BC are safe for workers. The Council of Forest Industries (COFI) has created the MAG Wood Dust Management Web Portal on its website. MAG's ‘Wood Dust Mitigation and Control Audit’ is now available through the portal for use by any employer.
To gain a full appreciation of the hazard of combustible dust, view the U.S. Chemical Safety Board video, “Combustible Dust: An Insidious Hazard”.
The BC Fire Code is available online, for a fee, and available at local Public Libraries. Print copies can also be purchased.
A checklist to assist employers in meeting the BC Fire Code fire safety planning requirements for dust producing processes can be found in the Office of the Fire Commissioners Information Bulletin. A wood product manufacturer may also have other BC Fire Code requirements as well. The Fire Safety Plan (FSP) Development Guide for Industrial Occupancies can be consulted to ensure all requirements are identified.
What is combustible dust? If you work in an operation that produces dust, view this Information Bulletin from the Office of the Fire Commissioner which can help you learn (1) whether or not that dust is combustible, (2) how an explosion might occur, and (3) how to prevent such an explosion from occurring.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), United States Department of Labor, has an excellent site on combustible dust.