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When is “Approved” Not Approved? – Storing Flammables in IBC

by Clifton Brown on April 14, 2014 at 8:00 am · in Clifton's Blog, Safety

NFPA has initiated an awareness campaign on dangers of storing flammable/combustible liquids in composite intermediate bulk containers (IBC)…

Earlier this month the US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) launched a campaign to raise awareness regarding the fire risk posed by indoor storage of flammable or combustible liquids in IBC.

The hazards are considered particularly significant in plastic or the ubiquitous composite (“bottle-in-cage”- UN 31H’Z’1 type) IBC. These containers may not provide resistance under fire conditions and can release significant volumes of liquid; as well as the plastic itself subsequently contributing to the fire. The resulting intensity of heat may overwhelm fire protection systems and lead to catastrophic events in storage/processing buildings.

Although IBC may be “authorized” for shipping flammable/combustible liquids under transportation regulations, these approvals do not automatically extend to storage which is under the jurisdiction of other agencies. The UN standards on the design, testing and use of IBC do not specifically address fire resistance testing of IBC as part of the protocol. While in general PG I, and some PG II, Class 3 substances may not be transported in IBC, the testing required to qualify as UN standardized packaging are based on strength performance testing.
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OSHA’s Stand-Down: A Midterm Exam

by Bob Holder on March 31, 2014 at 8:00 am · in Bob's Blog, GHS (OSHA HazCom & WHMIS 2.0), Safety

Stand down, as in Whoa, Nelly! OSHA is asking everyone stop the press, step back and to briefly revisit fall protection and prevention in the workplace. More than 1/3 of all deaths on the construction site can be attributed to falls. OSHA has set the dates June 2-4, 2014 as a National Safety Stand-Down under its Fall Prevention campaign which aims to raise awareness and communication between employers and employees regarding falls from ladders, scaffolding and roofs. It’s a voluntary campaign and well worth the effort.

So, sit down, grab a cup of Joe and let’s chew the fat. Call it a “coffee break” if you want, just take a few moments to re-focus, remind and re-assess safety. As you attempt to get your coffee just the right color, we can discuss the Plan, Provide, and Train initiative. OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)’s version of kryptonite for fall hazards. The 3-Step information sharing process consists of:

PLAN ahead to get the job done safely

PROVIDE the right equipment

TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely

Think of this as a mid-term exam, or formative assessment. Formative assessments are like having lots of little exams every month, assessing your knowledge, progress and comprehension as you move along- not waiting until the end of the term only to find out you turned left when you should have turned right about six months ago.
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Fertilizer Plant Explosion in West, Texas

by ICC Compliance Center on April 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm · in Uncategorized

By now most people have heard about the fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX. CNN is reporting several (5-15) fatalities and over 200 injured. Located north of Waco, TX and approximately 75 miles south of Dallas, TX on I-35 and it has a reported population of 2,700 people. This information may be premature as reports are still coming in as of 0900 (CST) on April 18, 2013.

One emergency worker who had been reported as missing, a constable serving as a volunteer firefighter, has been found in a hospital with critical injuries. Three or four first responders, among the first to fight the fire before the fertilizer plant exploded shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2013 remain missing. And there is a confirmation that there are at least 2 emergency responders who received fatal injuries.

The plant is surrounded by homes and businesses which included a nearby apartment complex with about 50 units and a nursing home and a middle school that had been destroyed. Also there were between 50-75 homes that were destroyed.
According to eyewitnesses, “It was a small fire and then water got sprayed on the ammonium nitrate, and it exploded just like the Oklahoma City bomb.”
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Derailment in Columbus, Ohio

by ICC Compliance Center on July 12, 2012 at 9:17 am · in Jim's Blog, Safety

At about 2 a.m. Wednesday, approximately 11 cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed southeast of the Ohio State University campus. This track location is north of the downtown area in an industrial section just blocks from residences.

Emergency responders imposed a mile wide evacuation zone, as flames shot skyward. Authorities stated that three of the burning rail cars contained ethanol. In the daylight, authorities decided to let the fire burn itself out. There is no immediate cause known for the derailment. Two people were injured as they ran toward the accident scene before the flammable vapor ignited in an explosion. They were able to get themselves to the hospital.

The American Red Cross opened an evacuation center at the state fairgrounds and was assisting about 50 individuals.

Norfolk Southern said two locomotives and three of the 98 freight cars were removed from the scene without incident.

Ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) is a flammable liquid made by fermentation of a biomass. The flash point for ethanol is -114°C. Although flammability is a major hazard, it is also classified as a depressant drug when ingested. The level of intoxication is determined by the alcohol concentration in the brain. Ethanol is used for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to: solvent for resins, dyes, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, beverages, antifreeze, explosives and cleaning preparations.

Ergonomics for Work and Play

by ICC Compliance Center on June 27, 2012 at 10:16 am · in Safety, Uncategorized

Ergonomic conditions are disorders of the soft tissues often caused by factors such as overexertion while lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or reaching, among other causes.

Each June, the National Safety Council encourages others to get involved and participate in National Safety Month. NSM is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths. Each week of the month carries a theme to bring attention to critical safety issues. This week, NSC is releasing helpful information and materials on preventing ergonomic conditions, such as overexertion.

According to the Injury Facts 2012 Edition, overexertion is the third leading cause of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for about 3.2 million emergency department visits.

Ergonomic conditions are disorders of the soft tissues often caused by factors such as overexertion while lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or reaching, among other causes. Ergonomic conditions are best dealt with when caught early.

The signs of ergonomic conditions include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • tenderness
  • clicking
  • loss of grip strength

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure to see your physician or an occupational physician as soon as possible to determine the cause of your pain.
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