Canadian Biomass Magazine

Safety foundations: new webinar to discuss best practices for managing combustible dust

June 22, 2021
By Fahimeh Yazdan Panah

Dust explosions are significant challenges for the industry that have already resulted in significant losses of capital investments and tragic loss of life. With the growth of the bioenergy sector, it is important that those opportunities for bioenergy are implemented not only in an efficient and economic manner, but also safely.

As part of previous safety initiatives, the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC)’s Safety Committee, in collaboration with the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), the Manufacturing Advisory Group and WorkSafeBC, established a working group to lead the process on developing best practices for combustible dust management in wood fibre storage. This collaboration resulted in the formation of the Wood Fibre Storage Working Group (WFSWG), with the overall objective of improving safety within the wood manufacturing sector by eliminating injuries and fatalities. The working group developed guidelines for the management of both wood fibre storage and combustible dust, which includes documents on risks and mitigation and gap analysis, as well as a safety bulletin.

As part of the current safety initiative, WPAC’s Safety Committee, in co-operation with WorkSafeBC, the University of British Columbia Biomass and Bioenergy Research Group, and media partner Canadian Biomass magazine, are hosting the Safety Foundation webinar series. This six-part series, focused on process safety, has broad applications across all sectors and is free and open to everyone. The sixth of this free six-part Safety Foundation Webinar Series is focused on combustible dust and combustible gas.

The webinar, “Safe handling and storage of biomass, part II,” presented by Jeff Mycroft, regional sales manager at Fike Canada, is the second of two webinars focused on safe handling and storage of biomass that will be available on July 27, 2021 and covers the topic of combustible dust. In this webinar, Mycroft will go through hazards associated with combustible dust, hazard assessment as well as hazard control and management. He covers information including what characteristics cause wood dust to be explosive, all the components required for an explosion to happen, primary and secondary explosions and hazard control systems such as passive containment, engineering controls and housekeeping.


This webinar provides valuable information about process safety to everyone involved in the pellet industry, including operating personnel at all levels of a pellet plant, supervisors, senior management, control operators, other industry participants, equipment suppliers, and safety professionals.


Dr. Fahimeh Yazdan Panah is director of research and technical development at Wood Pellet Association of Canada.


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