BURR RIDGE, IL - Fauske & Associates LLC has opened what it describes as a "comprehensive, state-of-the-art" combustible dust hazards testing lab and education center in Burr Ridge, a southwest suburb of Chicago.
Fauske's ComDust laboratory, which will include services for the wood products industry, will be showcased in a grand opening event next spring. The event will feature tours and demonstrations using the lab's equipment including 20-L chambers, minimum ignition energy (MIE) chambers, 1 cubic meter (1m³) chamber, minimum auto-ignition temperature of a dust cloud (MIT) and hot surface ignition temperature of dust layers (LIT) apparatuses.
Fauske specializes in nuclear, industrial and chemical process safety and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Company. The company develops methodology and laboratory tools for characterizing chemical systems and computer models for analyzing severe accidents in commercial nuclear power plants used worldwide.
Now Fauske is turning its attention to combustible dust. In July, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) voted combustible dust as number one on its “Most Wanted Safety Improvements” program. The CSB has been highly critical of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to create an industrial combustible dust safety standard as mandated by Congress in 2008. Congress' vote directing OSHA to create a ComDust standard followed a massive combustible dust fire and explosion that killed 14 workers and injured dozens of others at Imperial Sugar's refinery in Port Wentworth, GA.
Combustile dust has also garnered serious attention in British Columbia, Canada. WorkSafeBC officers have embarked on a new round of inspections at sawmills and other wood processors as part of the safety agency's ongoing, comprehensive combustible dust initiative. WorkSafeBC's ComDust initiative was launched shortly after the April 23, 2012 fatal fire and explosion at Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, BC, that killed two workers and injured dozens more. Three months earlier, a fire and explosion at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake, BC, also killed two workers and injured many more.