Dust explosions linked to cold weather

My heart goes out to the families and victims of both central B.C.'s sawmill wood dust explosions. The inquest is now finished.

As a former industrial ventilation engineer I note that both explosions happened during winter's icy grip - to me this is not a coincidence. To control wood dust build-up, large volumes of inside air are extracted, but equal volumes of evenly-distributed tempered air (at 20C AND 30% RH [recommended by WorkSafeBC]) to replace the air extracted is just as important.

article continues below

A relevant final report on Nova Scotia dust explosions concluded risk factors such as humidity levels and water content in materials can elevate the risk of explosion.

Moist dust requires a higher ignition temperature than dryer dust.

Also, when humidity levels are low, like those seen in winter months, dust can easily disperse and ignite, increasing the risk. In fact, industrial accident investigations by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found that seven out of eight fatal combustible dust explosions from 1995 to 2009 occurred during cold winter months when these weather conditions were most prominent.

Ron C. Langille

Prince George

Read Related Topics

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Prince George Citizen welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. Comments that contain external links will not be permitted. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

TransMountain pipeline expansion POLL

Do you support the federal government’s decision to go ahead with the TransMountain pipeline expansion?

or  view results

Sign Up For Our e-Newsletter!
  • 97/16

    Prince George's Weekly News

Popular Citizen

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.

Lowest Gas Prices in Prince George
Prince George Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com