An explosion in an unprotected dust collector produces a high-pressure wave that can fragment the housing and send heat, flames and dangerous projectiles into the workplace. Obviously, this is extremely dangerous for workers, equipment and structures.
When you hear about large-scale combustion explosions and loss of human life, you wonder how this tragedy could happen. And, yet, the No. 1 cause of industrial fuel and combustion system explosions is human error.
The potential for a combustible dust explosion is a reality in many manufacturing and processing operations, even within a dust collection system itself. An explosion in an unprotected dust collector can fragment the housing and send heat, flames and dangerous projectiles into the workplace.
Manufacturing locations can be dirty, dusty environments by nature, depending on what is produced in a given location. As a result, many manufacturers are no stranger to airborne dust and the health hazards it can pose to workers regularly exposed to it.
On January 22, 2018, a rig explosion near Quinton, Oklahoma claimed the lives of five workers, marking the deadliest incident in the U.S. oil and gas industry since the Deepwater Horizon disaster. These incidents, and many others, are tragic reminders of the need for innovation in safety systems.
While the most basic function of a dust collector is to keep workers and workplaces safer, not all collectors are created equal from a safety standpoint. Here are some tips for ensuring that your dust collector is as safe as possible.