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The Importance of Obtaining Relevant Sensitivity Data in Conducting Hazards Analysis of Explosives Processes

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Conference paper

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The OSHA administered rule 29 CFR 1910.119, Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals, requires manufacturers of hazardous chemicals, including explosives, to conduct process hazards analyses of potentially hazardous operations. The process hazards analysis must address the hazards of the process and provide a qualitative evaluation of the range of the possible safety and health effects. The principle hazard when processing ammunition or explosives is initiation of the material with subsequent potential for fire or explosion. To address the hazards of processing ammunition or explosive materials adequately, an understanding is needed of the sensitivity and response of the material to initiating energies associated with failure modes in the process. Relevant sensitivity testing should be conducted on the ammunition or explosive materials to determine its threshold initiation levels to the applicable initiating energies. The sensitivity testing should be conducted on test apparatuses and using test methodologies with which the analyst is well versed and knowledgeable. This knowledge is essential if the analyst is to correlate the data to the process being analyzed. The sensitivity data should be presented in engineering units to allow direct comparison of the sensitivity data with in-process potential energies associated with identified process failure modes. Once all the relevant data is obtained, comparison of the sensitivity data to the in-process potential energies will yield a likelihood of explosives initiation for a given failure mode. Once a likelihood of initiation is determined, and knowing the ammunition or explosive quantity and response, the consequence of an accidental initiation can be inferred.

Subject Categories:

  • Miscellaneous Materials
  • Safety Engineering
  • Ammunition and Explosives

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