Today's News

Combustible dust can trigger severe explosions

October 1, 2004
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
Accumulations of combustible dust within industrial facilities create the potential for severe dust explosions, concludes the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, in a new report.

Perhaps the most serious hazard is the potential for secondary explosions, which occur when building vibrations or gases produced by a smaller explosion disperse dust on surfaces into the air. The dispersed dust cloud is subsequently ignited by the advancing flame front of the initial explosion or by other ignition sources.

Secondary explosions can be devastating because they tend to bring large amounts of dust into involvement. Three recent dust explosions are briefly described below:

  • Jahn Foundry, Springfield, Mass.: Powdered plastic resin used as a sand binding agent accumulated on surfaces in the mold fabrication room of a foundry. On February 25, 1999, the shock from an initial explosion in a dust extraction duct dispersed the accumulated resin into the air, setting up secondary explosions. Twelve employees were burned over 40 percent to 100 percent of their bodies; three of these victims later died. The explosion blew out walls of the building and lifted the roof.

  • Ford Motor Company, River Rouge Plant, Dearborn, Mich.: On February 1, 1999, a natural gas explosion in an idle power boiler at the River Rouge plant disturbed coal dust that had accumulated on surfaces in the facility. The result was a large secondary dust explosion. Six workers were killed, and 14 were seriously injured.

  • Rouse Polymerics International Inc., Vicksburg, Miss.: On May 16, 2002, a secondary dust explosion occurred at a Rouse recycling facility. Five workers were killed, and at least seven others were injured. The explosion was fueled by accumulated rubber dust generated from the grinding of scrap tires.
  • Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

    You must login or register in order to post a comment.



    Image Galleries

    Scenes from the World of Safety

    Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

    11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

    Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

    The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

    ISHN Magazine


    2015 January

    Check out ISHN's first issue of 2015, which features articles about hearing protection as well as the State of the EHS Nation 2015 Survey.

    Table Of Contents Subscribe


    M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
    Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

    A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

    More Products

    For Distributors Only - January 2015

    FDO JAN 2015 COVER


    For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 



    Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

    ishn infographics

    2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.