Explosions in the workplace can be catastrophic for workers. They can cause disfiguring scars, traumatic brain injuries, lung damage and fatal injuries. Thus, every precaution should be in place to protect them.
Unfortunately, accidents causing an explosion still happen when the right elements are in place. When it comes to dust explosions on the job, you may not even realize they are in place.
Components of a dust explosion
The following elements are necessary for a combustible dust explosion to occur:
- Dust (the fuel)
- Dispersion of dust
- Enclosed spaces
When these components combine, an explosion can occur. In some cases, these trigger additional explosions that prove to be far worse than the initial event.
Therefore, to reduce or eliminate the risk of a combustible dust explosion, at least one of these components must be prevented. Workers can utilize filters and vacuums to clear away the dust before it accumulates. They can strictly comply with regulations for safe venting, electrical wiring and open flame mitigation.
The more precautions a person takes to prevent these explosions, the more effective their efforts can be. However, having just one or two control methods can still put workers in danger if they fail.
Industries at risk
Not every job is going to put workers in danger of a combustible dust explosion. Generally, the industries where these devastating accidents occurring include:
- Food facilities
- Metal processing
- Fossil fuel generation
These industries are more likely to be environments where the five components necessary for a dust explosion are present.
Administrative, operational and engineering controls can effectively reduce the risk of these disastrous events. But too often, employers and workers are unaware that these measures are even necessary.
Fires and explosions are among the most severe events that threaten Maryland workers. Every business should take these risks seriously and do their part to prevent them and protect employees.