Technical Note SB54: Air filtration stops fires

Dust explosions are always a risk in any wood processing plant, and one that the forest industry takes extremely seriously.  In B.C., there were two explosions at sawmills in 2012, and in each explosion, two people were killed and others were injured.

These terrible events spurred the creation of a Manufacturers Advisory Group (MAG).  It was given the goal of providing the industry with a better understanding of (and improved ability to manage the risks created by) combustible wood dust.  The task force was created by the CEOs of BC forest manufacturers representing an estimated 70 per cent of raw wood production in B.C.

There were three components to MAG’s mandate. First, members went away and did research into the combustion risks of dust, from both green wood and dry beetle-killed wood.  Then, they created best practices for dust mitigation (partly through analysing what is done in the grain handling industry) and also created an industry-wide auditable standard.

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