Two people were killed when an explosion ripped through an Omaha animal feed processing plant Monday

USA Today – Read Full Story Here

Two people were killed when an explosion ripped through an Omaha animal feed processing plant Monday collapsing part of the building, officials said.

Omaha Police Lt. Darci Tierney said others working in the plant at the time of the blast have been accounted for.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine, who oversees the coroner, confirmed two deaths at the plant.

Interim Fire Chief Bernard Kanger had earlier said an unknown number of workers could still be inside the International Nutrition plant in south-central Omaha.

Kanger said the plant is unstable, and rescue and recovery workers had to move slowly and carefully inside the structure.

He said 10 people were hospitalized, including four in critical condition, and another seven declined medical attention for injuries.

He said 38 people were working in the plant at the time of the blast.

The cause of the blast has not yet been determined. Kanger said there were no hazardous chemicals at the plant.

A forklift operator, Kendrick Houston, told the Omaha World-Herald he was walking on the plant’s main floor after a morning break when it began to tremble.

“There was this real loud crackling sound, and the lights went off,” Houston told the newspaper. “I saw a spark, and there was a big ball of flame coming from the southwest corner of the building.”

He and a co-worker hit the ground as debris, smoke and dust rained on them.

“It happened so quick,” said Houston, 38. “Then we just got up and ran out.”

Once outside, Houston decided to try to go back into the plant to help coworkers still inside.

“I ran back in,” Houston said. “I yelled their names, but they didn’t answer.”

“It was disarray,” Houston said. “All the lights were out. It was pitch black. … I think it was still burning in that corner.”

Plant worker Nate Lewis, 21, said he was on the first floor when he heard the blast. The building went dark, so he used light from his cellphone to make his way across the production floor to safety outside.

“I was a production line worker, although I don’t know if I want to be that anymore,” said Lewis, who’s worked at International Nutrition for about four months.

The plant sits in an industrial area visible from Interstate 80, which bisects Nebraska’s largest city. There are no residences nearby and no other buildings were evacuated after the explosion.

Jamar White said he heard a loud crack and then looked up to see the back wall of the building collapsing.

“I ran at least 150 feet,” White said. “I ran far enough to make sure nothing else would keep falling.”

Afterward, White said, he could see inside the third floor of the building where at least two co-workers were screaming for help.

Contributing: Associated Press

COMBUSTIBLE WOOD DUST INSPECTION CHECKLIST

Checklist

This checklist is intended for MAINTENANCE and MANAGERIAL personnel who can make decisions about facility inspections and
implementation of preventive and corrective action. This checklist is designed to be a PLAIN ENGLISH, PRACTICAL Self-Assessment
that gives users the ability to calculate their preparedness, and their exposure to increasing hazards. You won’t find complicated metrics here!
Regarding the checklist itself, wood processing produces variable sizes of dust particles. Without dust size sampling, you must assume
that the dust mixtures present are combustible. This means your dust passes through a #40 Sieve, and is 420 Microns or less in size,and that moisture content is NOT a factor.

 

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Aluminum Plant Safety Blog – Incident involving aluminum dust/fines causes explosion and fire

The Aluminum Plant Safety Blog previously posted an incident involving aluminium dust/fine explosion and fire (listed here) at a Midwest United States facility. The explosion and the resulting fire injured two workers. This post updates the original post:
The company has been cited by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 safety and health violation following an April 2013 dust collector explosion and ensuing fire at the sheet metal production facility. Two workers were injured, one of whom suffered face, arm and hand burns. OSHA has proposed fines of over $50,000 USD.

“Manufacturing companies using materials that cause combustible dust particles-hazards that are unique to their industry-must take precautions to avoid potential explosions and injuries,” said OSHA’s area director. “Employers must be aware of hazards at their work sites and take preventive measures”.

One repeat violation was cited for failing to control hazardous energy. A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2011 at this facility.

Among the 10 serious violations, one involved OSHA’s general duty clause and failing to control hazards from aluminum dust. The other violations include

 a lack of machine guarding,
 respiratory protection,
 fall protection,
 hazard communication programs,
 inadequate or missing signage,
 improperly maintained fire extinguishers,
 lack of a confined space program
 violations of safe electrical work practices.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which employer knew or should have known exists.

The company has previously been cited for 11 violations during seven OSHA inspections. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request and informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The APSB has posted incidents which include at least one or more of the above mentioned violations. Any one of those violations could result in an injury or death of a worker.

The APSB sincerely hopes that the injured workers recovery fully.