Our Projects

We're helping organizations operate at the highest levels of safety. Learn about some of our latest work.

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Inherently Safer Bow Ties for Dust Hazard Analysis

Wood dust generated in wood pellet manufacturing presents combustible dust hazards. The wood pellet industry in Canada is striving to enhance the safety of wood pellet production.

A research project was undertaken in partnership between Dalhousie University, Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC), British Columbia Forest Safety Council and DustEx Research Ltd. under a WorkSafeBC Innovation at Work grant. The project investigated the use of bow tie analysis to incorporate inherently safer design (ISD) into wood pellet plants. In her role as Research Associate at Dalhousie University, Kayleigh served as Project Technical Lead, which included facilitating bow tie workshops and conducting core research activities. Kayleigh also supported number of concurrent projects including critical control management and an industry working group focused on belt dryer safety. Obex Risk was engaged to prepare the final technical report.

The outcomes of this research project support risk management strategies for the wood pellet industry and other high-hazard industries.

 

Further work is being undertaken in 2022 under another WorkSafeBC Innovation at Work grant (Integrating Process Safety Management into Canadian Wood Pellet Facilities that Generate Combustible Wood Dust) where Obex Risk is Project Manager and Technical Lead.

Analysis of Deflagration Isolation in Wood Pellet Production for Safer Operation

There have been incidents in wood pellet plants involving wood dust deflagrations and fires that have escalated by means of flame propagation in interconnected equipment. Deflagration isolation is the technique for preventing propagation. There was an identified need to improve understanding of isolation systems and challenges around their incorporation in wood pellet plants.

In collaboration with the Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC), BC Forest Safety Council, and Dalhousie University, Obex Risk conducted a multi-disciplinary research project involving subject matter experts from wood pellet plant operations, explosion protection equipment manufacturers, and combustible dust consulting. Obex Risk is also providing ongoing technical communication support for a range of initiatives, including informational fact sheets, a webinar, and a symposium.

The final technical report, available at www.pellet.org/safety, helps wood pellet plants implement deflagration isolation systems and enhance reliability.

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Combustible Wood Dust Training and Support

This client is constructing a new facility involving processes that generate combustible wood dust. Company staff needed foundational training in combustible dust hazards and key areas of focus for preventing fires and explosions.

Obex Risk provided a customized training presentation focused on front line personnel that will enhance their understanding. Obex Risk will also be providing additional industrial safety and risk management support as operations are underway.

Bow Tie Analysis of Mobile Equipment-Pedestrian Hazards

Industrial worksites often involve a range of mobile equipment, including forklifts, transport trucks, and loaders, as well as pedestrian duties and activities, such as maintenance, deliveries, and shift changes. The interaction of mobile equipment and pedestrians at worksites presents the risk of loss-producing incidents that can lead to injuries and fatalities. For instance, in British Columbia, in the past 10 years, there have been 550 struck-by incidents (WorkSafeBC, 2021). That is approximately one per week.

Obex Risk was engaged to facilitate a bow tie analysis workshop to evaluate the mobile equipment-pedestrian hazard for a client’s worksite. This workshop involved systematically examining how incidents can arise, assessing barriers to prevent incidents from occurring, and identifying areas with the potential to enhance safety and address issues. Obex Risk provided subsequent analysis to develop areas to prioritize for risk reduction, including the consideration of inherently safer design (ISD).

Obex Risk delivered an overview summary report and presentation for key project stakeholders. Further support will be provided for the development and communication of safety resources across the client’s industry.

For more information on mobile equipment-pedestrian safety, download this factsheet Reducing the risk of workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment by WorkSafeBC.

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