Combustible dust fires are frequently precursor events to dust-related explosions, John Astad says. (NIST photo)

NIST Helps Create Two Transportation Safety Blast Standards

With summer travel season hard upon us, specialists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have helped create two new standards designed to increase safety as we rush from gate to gate in crowded mass transit centers. Their efforts will help to fortify against potential bomb threats in the nation's transportation centers.

Whether you travel by plane, train, or bus, NIST said you're bound to pass a familiar container that makes for an attractive spot to stash a bomb: a trash can. Not only does a trash receptacle present an easy place for a terrorist to hide an explosive device before making a quiet getaway, but the metal from a bin can rupture into shrapnel that flies outward in all directions, increasing the risk to passersby.

While industry has been producing blast-resistant trash receptacles for years, there were no widely-accepted specifications for judging a manufacturer's particular claims of product safety. The Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and several manufacturers began working with NIST in 2007 to address the lack of standards for blast resistance among trash receptacles. The results of the DHS-funded work now have been published by the standards development organization ASTM International.

The two standards will allow managers of transit centers--and other venues as well--to know exactly how a given receptacle model has been tested against blasts and precisely what a passing grade means in terms of resistance. The standards are scalable, meaning that they provide useful information on performance at any threat level.

"In practice, this means a transit center manager can make a purchase with confidence in the performance of the unit, the specific threat level anticipated and cost," explained Chris White, a researcher in NIST's Building and Fire Research Laboratory. "If, for example, you know you can, at a minimum, detect the trafficking of five or more pounds of plastic explosive, you can purchase trash receptacles that will redirect the blast at up to that level of explosive force."

A trash receptacle has met the standard if it is capable of directing a blast upward, rather than outward, at a given level of force. While any receptacle will fail to direct the blast upward at some level of force, these two standards will allow a buyer to determine that level with confidence.

"Using these two standards, any transit agency can reference blast resistance when they do their procurement," White said. "They can go to multiple manufacturers and compare their products on an equal basis."

A third standard is now in the works. It will help guide the placement of trash receptacles in building to minimize safety risks should a bomb detonate inside the containers.

The standard, ASTM International. "E 2639 – 09a, Standard Test Method for Blast Resistance of Trash Receptacles" and "E2740 – 10, Standard Specification for Trash Receptacles Subjected to Blast Resistance Testing," are available at .

Product Showcase

  • Magid® D-ROC® GPD412 21G Ultra-Thin Polyurethane Palm Coated Work Gloves

    Magid’s 21G line is more than just a 21-gauge glove, it’s a revolutionary knitting technology paired with an advanced selection of innovative fibers to create the ultimate in lightweight cut protection. The latest offering in our 21G line provides ANSI A4 cut resistance with unparalleled dexterity and extreme comfort that no other 21-gauge glove on the market can offer! Read More

  • Full Line of Defense Against Combustible Dust Nilfisk

    Nilfisk provides a comprehensive range of industrial vacuums meticulously crafted to adhere to NFPA 652 housekeeping standards, essential for gathering combustible dust in Class I, Group D, and Class II, Groups E, F & G environments or non-classified settings. Our pneumatic vacuums are meticulously engineered to fulfill safety criteria for deployment in hazardous surroundings. Leveraging advanced filtration technology, Nilfisk ensures the secure capture of combustible materials scattered throughout your facility, ranging from fuels, solvents, and metal dust to flour, sugar, and pharmaceutical powders. Read More

  • AirChek Connect Sampling Pump

    Stay connected to your sampling with the SKC AirChek® Connect Sampling Pump! With its Bluetooth connection to PC and mobile devices, you can monitor AirChek Connect pump operation without disrupting workflow. SKC designed AirChek Connect specifically for all OEHS professionals to ensure accurate, reliable flows from 5 to 5000 ml/min and extreme ease of use. AirChek Connect offers easy touch screen operation and flexibility. It is quality built to serve you and the workers you protect. Ask about special pricing and a demo at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. Read More

Featured