Researcher Dr. Chris Cloney of DustSafetyScience.com presented details on his on-going project to create a comprehensive database of combustible dust explosions and fires around the world on Thurs., Apr. 26 at the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference & Exhibition in Rosemont, IL.
Opening the talk by offering details on firefighter injuries and several dust-related explosions and fires in 2017, Cloney outlined the methodology and goals of his Combustible Dust Incident Database (CDI) and reviewed some data from his latest annual report.
“I’d say we haven’t learned very much from these incidents because we don’t even know they’re happening every day in our facilities,” the researcher told the crowd after asking how many people were aware of the incidents he described. “There’s a quote on the first slide of my presentation by Peter Drucker, business management consultant: ‘You can’t manage what you don’t measure.’ That’s what my work is about, that is what the Combustible Dust Incident Database is about.”
The database is geared toward helping various stakeholders, including industry and academia, measure progress in combustible dust safety, draft lessons learned and best practices, and participate in working to boost the safety of facilities and workers that handle combustible dusts.
Beyond the database, Cloney uses social media platforms, email newsletters, and a website to promote and increase awareness of combustible dust hazards among various stakeholders, including industry, researchers, safety professionals, and regulators.
“We have a lot of difficulties in communication between these groups. Research comes out too academic, not practical enough to be used by the process safety professionals. The process industry wants to know how to we actually get compliance, how do we go about compliance and keep our people safe. And the regulators…they have limited resources to get the coverage they need,” the researcher said.
Cloney completed a doctorate program in chemical engineering from Dalhousie University this month. Prior to focusing on combustible dust-related issues, he worked as a technical consultant and software developer for defense firms conducting research on landmine and underwater mine explosions.
“My passion is how do we take communities of individuals with different backgrounds and bring them together, help them communicate, so that we can actually increase the overall level of safety,” said Cloney.