June 21, 2018

Dust Safety Week: Tolko’s ongoing commitment to minimizing wood dust in our mills

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In observation of Dust Safety Week (June 18-22, 2018) we’d like to describe Tolko’s Wood Dust Mitigation Program for our readers. Tolko takes wood dust safety seriously, and we value the safety of our employees above all else.

A wood dust explosion occurs when fine, combustible dust is suspended in air and exposed to an ignition source, causing very rapid burning and a subsequent increase in pressure that results in an explosion.

Our Combustible Wood Dust Management Plan, which has been rolled out across all of Tolko’s divisions, meets WorkSafeBC requirements and each division is required to follow these regulations. All our mills have completed the Manufacturer’s Advisory Group (MAG) combustible dust audit and completed action plans that directly address high-risk areas and outline best practices.

Tolko’s occupational health and safety supervisor, BC lumber Scott Wynn said that good housekeeping and ongoing employee training is critical to preventing wood dust fires. He said, “Our mills have been assessed by a third party for their potential risk based on combustible dust generation and accumulation, in addition to any possible ignition sources. Combustible dust training is included in our employee orientation and is covered during our regular crew safety talks”.

Inspection and cleanup schedules have been successfully rolled out at all facilities, and regular safety audits ensure that cleanup practices comply with regulations.

For more information on Dust Safety Week, visit the Canadian Biomass Magazine website.