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Combustible Dust Laws in Canada

May 13, 2010

Even though we are still waiting on a Combustible Dust rule here in the U.S., industrial facilities are all “governed” under one regulatory safety body, OSHA. Many states also have their own safety agency and have the power to  adopt their own rules and recommendations.

In contrast, our neighbor to the North, Canada,  doesn’t really have a federal safety agency. Instead, each province, or jurisdiction, creates their own rules and regulations…similiar to the power our states have here.  Despite this, Canada often follow’s OSHA recommendations for worker safety, including those outlined in the Combustible Dust NEP.  (Combustible Dust is not just a U.S. problem!)

Here’s how Canadian  jurisdictions’ OHS law addresses the hazards related to combustible dust (taken from OHS Insider):

FEDERAL: In the section on fire hazard areas, which covers work in an atmosphere that contains or is likely to contain explosive concentrations of combustible dust or an area where combustible dust has accumulated in a sufficient quantity to be a hazard [Canada OHS Regs., Sec. 17.11(2)].

ALBERTA: In the section on fire and explosion hazards, for which “hazardous location” is defined as a place where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to combustible dust (among other things) [OHS Code 2009, Part 10].

BRITISH COLUMBIA: In the section on “flammable air contaminants” [OHS Reg., Sec. 5.71] and section on combustible dust [Sec. 5.81].

MANITOBA: In the section on fire and explosive hazards, which covers “flammable substances” defined to include dust that’s capable of creating an explosive atmosphere when suspended in air in concentrations within the explosive limit of the dust [Workplace Health and Safety Reg., Part 19].

NEW BRUNSWICK: a) By barring the use of industrial lift trucks near areas containing explosive dusts [OHS Regs., Sec. 216(2)(a)]; and b) barring workers from welding, cutting, burning or soldering unless they’ve inspected area to ensure that all combustible dust has been removed, if possible, or that adequate precautions have been taken to prevent fire or explosion [Sec. 275(1)].

NEWFOUNDLAND/LABRADOR: In the section on combustible substances, including dusts [OHS Regs. 2009, Sec. 446(1)].

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES/NUNAVUT: a) By requiring certain precautions before workers weld, burn or carry out hot work on a vessel, tank, pipe or structure or in a place where there’s a likelihood of the presence of a flammable or explosive substance [General Safety Regs., Sec. 167(1)]; and b) barring the use of explosive-actuated tools where flammable or explosive dust is present [Sec. 194].

NOVA SCOTIA: a) By barring the use of an industrial lift truck near an area containing airborne dust in a concentration that may cause an explosion [Occupational Safety General Regs., Sec. 82(1)(b)]; and b) requiring workers to remove all hazardous material or processes that produce combustible dust from the area before a welding or allied process is commenced [Sec. 111(1)(a)].

ONTARIO: a) In a section on processes that are likely to produce a dust (among other things) to such an extent that it’s capable of forming an explosive mixture with air [Industrial Establishments Reg., Sec. 63]; b) in a section on dust explosions [Sec. 64]; and c) by barring the use of explosive actuated fastening tools in an atmosphere containing flammable dust [Sec. 36(1)(l)].

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: a) By requiring the use of a non-sparking type of explosive-actuated tool where there’s a risk of an explosive atmosphere [OHS General Regs., Sec. 29.2]; and b) barring welding and cutting operations in close proximity to explosive or flammable dusts unless adequate precautions are taken to prevent fires or explosions [Sec. 37.2].

QUÉBEC: a) In the section on combustible dusts and dry materials [Regulation respecting Occupational Health and Safety, Div. VIII]; and b) by barring welding and cutting operations in places containing combustible dusts presenting a fire or explosion hazard unless special precautions are taken to prevent any risk of fire or explosion [Sec. 313].  

SASKATCHEWAN: In the section on fire and explosion hazards, which covers “flammable substances” defined to include dust that’s capable of creating an explosive atmosphere when suspended in air in concentrations within the explosive limit of the dust [OHS Regs., Part XXV].

YUKON: a) In the section on processes that are likely to produce a dust (among other things) capable of forming a flammable mixture with air [OHS Regs., Sec. 15.34]; b) by barring welding, cutting, burning or soldering operations unless the surrounding area has been thoroughly inspected to ensure that all combustible, flammable or other explosive materials (including dust) has been removed or other equally effective measures have been taken to prevent a fire or explosion [Sec. 13.12(1)]; and c) in the section on ventilation requirements for air contaminants, including combustible or flammable dust [Occupational Health Regs., Sec. 8(6)].

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