Industrial explosions and fires are a major danger to both people and property — injuring or killing around 300 people each year and causing at least $1 billion in property damage.
However, many employees are actually unaware of how dangerous their working conditions actually are or what causes the majority of industrial explosions and fires.
According to the experts, there are several major causes, but combustible dust is arguably the biggest problem many industries face.
Combustible dust is one of the industrial world’s most dangerous — and virtually unavoidable — materials. According to publications by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), combustible dust occurs in many diverse industries and can be derived from natural products like eggs, milk and flour to manmade substances like epoxy and vinyl chloride — not just in industries with products that you might expect to produce dust that could ignite, like clothing factories or wood preparation factories.
While the individual products in their other forms may be flammable, as a dust they often become explosive.
To prevent combustible dust explosions or fires, there are several important measures to take:
— Regular housekeeping procedures need to be maintained and inspected for quality.
— Ventilation ducts and high-powered cleaning devices are needed to keep combustible dust to a minimum at all times.
— Hot work, or jobs that require the use of things like a torch cutter, welder or soldering iron, need to be done as far away from areas where combustible dust might gather as possible. The sparks from some types of work can travel several dozen feet, easily igniting a pile of dust on the far end of a room.
— All work areas need to be routinely inspected to make sure that no visible piles of dust are collecting during each shift.
— Electrical boxes and large pieces of machinery need to be swept on a regular basis with high-powered hoses or hand vacuums to keep dust from accumulating in hidden crevices.
— Employees need to be aware of the danger and trained on an emergency action plan if the dust does ignite.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed due to a combustible dust explosion or a factory fire that started after an explosion, talk to an attorney today.
Source: Industrial Vacuum Blog, “5 Major Causes of Industrial Fires and Explosions,” accessed July 05, 2017