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ISC Safety Lore Issue 15 - Key lessons from incidents related to dust explosions

Published on 29/09/23 115 Views

Dust explosions can occur in any industrial site that handles bulk powders. Dusts involved include common products like sugar, flour, cocoa; chemicals, dyestuffs and pharmaceuticals, plastics, metals such as aluminium and magnesium and traditional fuels such as coal and wood. There are five conditions necessary for a dust explosion to occur, called the “explosion pentagon”, which are the presence of combustible dust, oxidant, ignition source, concentration of dust mixed in the air within explosive range and confinement. The two broad categories of dust explosions are primary and secondary. A dust explosion initiated under conditions of confinement is called a primary dust explosion. The force of the primary explosion may disturb surrounding dust, forming another dust cloud, and the flame from the primary explosion subsequently ignites that suspended dust cloud. Secondary explosions are also initiated under conditions of confinement and generally more destructive than the primary explosion.

Ask yourself and your crew:

  • How can something like this happen here (e.g. on our site)?
  • What safety measures (i.e. procedures, controls/barriers) do we have in place to mitigate the risk?
  • How do we know the risk controls/barriers are working?
  • What improvements or changes should we make to the procedures, controls/barriers or the way we work?

Original content courtesy of IChemE Safety Centre

Other issues from ISC Safety Lore series:

ISC Safety Lore issue 1 - Key lessons from incidents during startup operations
ISC Safety Lore issue 2 - Key lessons from incidents during maintenance on atmospheric storage tanks
ISC Safety Lore issue 3 - Key lessons from incidents involving flare systems
ISC Safety Lore issue 4 - Key lessons from incidents relating to ageing
ISC Safety Lore issue 5 - Key lessons from incidents relating to creeping changes
ISC Safety Lore issue 6 - Key lessons from incidents relating to flanges
ISC Safety Lore issue 7 - Key lessons from road transportation incidents
ISC Safety Lore issue 8 - Key lessons from incidents related to shift-handover
ISC Safety Lore issue 9 - Key lessons from incidents related to permit to work
ISC Safety Lore issue 10 - Key lessons from incidents related to alarm management
ISC Safety Lore issue 11 - Key lessons from incidents related to ammonium nitrate fertilisers
ISC Safety Lore issue 12 - Key lessons from coal mine methane explosions
ISC Safety Lore issue 13 - Key lessons from incidents related to audits
ISC Safety Lore issue 14- Key lessons from incidents - inadequate hazard identification
ISC Safety Lore issue 15 - Key lessons from incidents related to dust explosions
ISC Safety Lore issue 16 - Key lessons from incidents related to procurement
ISC Safety Lore issue 17 - Key lessons from incidents related to intermediate bulk containers (IBCs)
ISC Safety Lore issue 18 - Key lessons from incidents related to flammable atmospheres
ISC Safety Lore issue 19 - Key lessons from incidents involving confined space entry