Video Analyzes Dust Explosions | August 3, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 31 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 31 | p. 22 | Concentrates
Issue Date: August 3, 2009

Video Analyzes Dust Explosions

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: safety, Imperial Sugar

A half-hour video prepared by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) uses computer animations of real accidents to explain the cause and prevention of industrial plant accidents due to common combustible dust. A CSB report found that 281 dust accidents have occurred at a wide range of industries over the past 25 years, killing 119 workers and injuring 718. Most recently, a dust explosion killed 14 workers at Imperial Sugar near Atlanta (C&EN, Feb. 18, 2008, page 5). The animations show how explosive dust—accumulated over years on plant equipment, pipes, floors, ducts, dust collectors—is ignited by a simple spark, setting off a primary explosion, lofting more accumulated dust hidden away in the plant, and leading to deadlier secondary explosions. The hazard is easily managed and preventable, CSB notes, but due to a lack of understanding, plant officials and workers often ignore it. Since 2006, CSB has urged OSHA to issue enforceable standards for dust. Last April, OSHA announced its intention to begin developing regulations. The video discusses accidents at West Pharmaceutical Services, in Kinston, N.C.; CTA Acoustics, in Corbin, Ky.; and Hayes Lemmerz International, in Huntington, Ind., which together killed 14 workers. It is available at

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