Explosive Safety Fundamentals

Success in the aerospace, air bag component industry, or any other industry involving explosives requires integration of the “cardinal rule” of explosives safety, which consists of:
Limiting exposure to a minimum number of personnel, for a minimum amount of time, to the minimum amount of explosives consistent with safe and efficient operations.

This cardinal rule can be implemented by following the “Fundamental Principles of Explosives Safety” in all aspects of explosive substances or articles manufacturing/assembly. These fundamentals consist of the following:

  • Understand the nature of explosives in-process, storage, or transportation
  • Thorough & accurate Process Hazards Analysis (PHA)
  • Explosives Safety Standards (ESSs) based on lessons learned and PHAs
  • Rigorous process control
  • Accountability for explosives safety at all organizational levels.

These fundamental principles are reflected in our philosophy and approach to Risk Management. SMS offers training courses on the fundamentals of explosives safety.

Specific items in the Explosive Fundamentals include the following:

Understand Your Explosive

  • Storage: BATF Classification as High or Low Explosive
  • In-Process Classification: In-process material sensitivity and reactivity determination
  • DOT Shipping Classification: Determination of shipping class and associated guidelines

Process Hazards Analysis

  • Identification of potential failure modes
  • Identification of the cause and effects of the failure mode, as well as design safety features and risk assessment
  • Issuing recommendations to minimize hazards
  • Publishing PHA report containing a summary and explanation of analysis

Explosives Safety Standards

  • Processing standard
  • Tooling and equipment standards
  • Facility standards
  • Incident investigation standards
  • Training standards
  • Procedure standards

Process Control

  • Procedure adequacy
  • Supporting programs (Management of Change, Pre-Start Up Safety Reviews)
  • Safety systems, interlocks, monitors, sensors, and associated design documentation
  • Personnel training

Safety Accountability

  • Procedures with safety focus
  • Management training
  • Safety-management relationship
  • Economic benefits