Guy Colonna, Division Manager, Industrial and Chemical Engineering at NFPA provided updates on recent code rulings and covered several topics. The first was an update on combustible dust. Guy reviewed major combustible dust incidents and the recent push by the Chemical Safety Board for an OSHA standard. Currently, grain dust is the only industry regulated by a federal standard. NFPA is looking to position our standards to be stronger to assist in what OSHA will do. NFPA 652, Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, is a new standard that is currently in the second draft phase. It will be available to view in early 2015. “This standard should re-establish the position in industry that we should be in”, said Guy.
The next topic Guy covered was the progress on the Confined Space Document development. NFPA 350 will be a confined space guide, not a standard, which will complement the existing OSHA 1910.146 and the ANSI confined space standards. The first draft is complete and open for public comment.
Guy then provided an update on DOT as it relates to crude oil and rail transportation. Recently there have been incidents both domestic and in Canada dealing with rail cars and crude oil. Since there is no pipe line to transport the crude oil more trains and rail cars are being used to ship the crude oil. This particular grade of crude oil has a very low flash point. The DOT is evaluating the properties of what exactly is being shipped to ensure the tank cars are properly designed and emergency responders are being notified with specific information. Ethanol is also being carried on some of these freight trains. If an incident were to occur, you cannot fight ethanol with the typical foam that most community emergency responders have available to them. It requires alcohol resistant foam that many communities may not currently keep on hand. Pre-incident planning and coordination is needed with all communities that have these trains passing through them in order to properly prepare for an incident.
Lastly, Guy covered some of the online training modules that are being developed at NFPA. There is a 3 module training series on NFPA 654 now available. More information about the training series can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo_c9iZnzBA.