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Case Studies » Taylormade Timber Products Ltd

The Challenge

An independent survey of operations associated with timber production at the Sherburn Hill site was undertaken December 2011 at the request of senior management. Facilities at the Sherburn Hill site allow for large scale production of timber products and other related materials which are supplied to a wide client base.

There is an inherent flammable hazard associated with wood dust, flammable gases or any other hazardous substances in use at the plant. While most products are stable, dust from combustible materials may present some hazard potential of explosive mixtures in air forming – both inside and outside of processing equipment.

The Solution provided

Key areas of activity involving hazardous materials at the site include:

Process areas and production lines involved extensive machine operations that routinely produce wood dust and where timber is fed automatically through conveyor / roller systems. There were areas where minor quantity of flammables were present internally plus several sawdust collection points and extraction units that may generate combustible dust – e.g. in event of a leak.

Engineering & Utilities contained lubricants and flammable materials including paints, gunwash & miscellaneous aerosols etc. there were also Gas cylinders on-site including Acetylene.

Wood dust appeared to be an inherent problem at the site and found likely to pose a significant DSEAR concern without proper management. The survey showed that dust generated throughout the process is largely removed at source via captive hoods and ductwork using local extract ventilation (LEV).

Evidence of dust deposits was found within the plant at the time of the survey which suggested that ongoing operations may sometimes lead to dust escaping the confines of LEV equipment.

Many standard controls can be ineffective or impractical for sawmill operations and the report emphasized to management the importance of good housekeeping and excellent dust extraction equipment installed throughout process areas to limit dust cloud formation – and eliminate combustible dust deposits that may be disturbed and lead to secondary explosion. A detailed set of recommendations were presented to management to follow to ensure the safety of the site operations.