Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Press Media for Michael Courouleau

Michael Courouleau Discusses Best Practices for Hurricane Cleanup
Michael Courouleau, safety expert for Industrial Safety & Health, warns business owners and residents about the importance of crafting a plan for returning to facilities and residences after the recent hurricane that battered the east coast.
Michael Courouleau Reveals Thousands Suffer Unnecessary Eye Injuries Each Year
Michael Courouleau, safety expert with decades of experience, reveals that approximately 2,000 workers suffer on-the-job eye injuries each year. These injuries could be prevented, Michael Courouleau believes, by simply requiring workers to don safety glasses during work hours.
Michael Courouleau Reveals Thousands Suffer Unnecessary Eye Injuries Each Year
Michael Courouleau, safety expert with decades of experience, reveals that approximately 2,000 workers suffer on-the-job eye injuries each year.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Michael Courouleau Outlines Combustible Dust Hazards

Michael Courouleau explains that there are many items that are considered fire hazards in an industrial environment. These substances may become explosive or combustible when suspended in air at a certain concentration.  According to Michael Courouleau, materials that may form combustible dust include wood; coal; carbon; food; fertilizer; tobacco; paper; soap; rubber; cotton; drugs; dried blood; dyes; certain textiles; and metals of aluminum and magnesium.

Combustible Dust

The recognition of combustible dust hazards became widely known after several major grain elevators exploded within days of each other, reports Michael Courouleau. These bursts were catastrophic in proportion halting operations and causing loss of life. Michael Courouleau says a potential cause of these incidents is a product is being manufactured called petroleum coke, which is used at power plants and cement plants. It is a lower cost substitute for a portion of the plant’s coal supply and is used for power generation in coal fired boilers, explains Michael Courouleau. This product is in question whether it has combustible qualities when suspended in air like the materials listed above.

OSHA Takes a Stand

After the deadly grain dust explosions occurred, OSHA developed Grain Handling standard 1910.272. The federal government says that the issue is nationwide and more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust blasts since 1980 (OSHA Report on Sugar Explosion, 2008). Even with these news measures there have been issues, says Michael Courouleau. For instance, the most recent explosion was in 2008 at the Imperial sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia. In all, 14 people lost their lives in this incident alone, laments Michael Courouleau.

Other Notable Tragedies

The December 1977 Westwego Continental Grain elevator explosion killed 36 people and is the deadliest grain dust explosion to have occurred in modern times, recalls Michael Courouleau. The blast destroyed 48 of the 73 giant silos used to store grain.  Michael Courouleau clarifies that most of the men that died got trapped in a two-story cinder block control room building that was crushed by a nearby 25 story grain silo.

According to Michael Courouleau, other massive and devastating explosions occurred at the Archer Daniels Midland facility and another grain-dust explosion in Galveston, Texas, killed nine workers.

OSHA‘s Grain Handling regulations are set to minimize the presence of combustible dusts. The NFPA has published recommended fire protection standards which can be adopted by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).  Special fire hazard protection systems, maintenance, and training programs must be in place to prevent loss of life and property from reoccurring due to combustible dust.

The Fire Triangle

There are 3 major components, Michael Courouleau notes, often referred to as the Fire Triangle. These are essential elements in having a fire or explosion. These consist of an ignition source, fuel, and oxygen. The suspended combustible dust is the fuel to the explosion. Michael Courouleau goes on to say that there is potential ignition source at every plant, including:

  • Equipment that could cause sparks/ heat sources
  • Improper clothing
  • Hot work processes
  • Failure to utilize intrinsically safe tools
  • Rotating equipment
  • Electrical equipment
Oxygen must also be present in the atmosphere to support combustion. 

Combustible dusts are measured by explosive severity, or Kst; maximum explosion pressure, Pmax; and minimum ignition energy. MIE.  Michael Courouleau explains that these measurements relate to the chemical properties, flammable characteristic of material suspended, particle size, and concentration of the material that is flammable. 

Michael Courouleau is an environmental safety expert with extensive experience in the field. He warns that many cost-cutting measures in industrial manufacturing may cost more in the long run…including lives.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Michael Courouleau LinkedIn Profile


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