Ruwac Blog

Canadian Wood Industry Continues to Struggle With Combustible Dust

Combustible dust hazards have been plaguing the wood and sawmill industries for years now throughout Canada where there is a large forest industry. In 2012, dozens of fires and explosions led to deadly accidents that ultimately resulted in British Columbia’s version of OSHA, WorksafeBC, spearheading tighter oversight on wood dust levels throughout these spaces. Their initial string of inspections in 2013 and 2014 yielded hundreds of sawmills and dozens of wood pellet plants throughout the region needing to be cited by the agency for having dangerous levels of combustible dust detected throughout them. While 2015 marked substantial progress in WorksafeBC’s effort swhen they discovered that there were no wood dust levels at any of these mills that could be considered a risk for explosion, the agency continues to order calls for improvements to further safeguard these wood mills for workers.

Some of these recommendations include reprimands on using pressurized air to clean the wood dust up (which can possibly result in the air disseminating in clouds into the air,) and citing facilities for not being able to provide design information on the ventilation systems inside their buildings in order to check if they’re properly equipped to handle combustible dust. The most interesting suggestion by WorksafeBC as it relates to industrial vacuum cleaners is that in addition to implementing housekeeping plans to control dust, companies are investing a significant amount of resources into dust-control equipment. On top of outlining a regimen housekeeping program and educating employees as a means to reduce combustible dust risks and accidents in the work place, Dust In Case has addressed why a certified explosion proof vacuum will allow workers to safely remove the dust, as these industrial vacuums are the only equipment on the market available that can safely collect dust of this nature. It’s not news that explosion proof vacuums will significantly aid safety plans for removing hazardous combustible dust, but if WorksafeBC can continue to stress their importance in their plan, their investment will pay itself off in no time when it comes to saving lives, preventing accidents and building damage, and avoiding hefty fines.

(source: The Vancouver Sun)