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Technical & Practical

October 1, 2009

Preventing Dust Explosions

Risk management programs are critical for safe handling and processing of combustible dust as well as for OSHA regulatory compliance

Geof Brazier and Mitch Rooker, BS&B Safety Systems, LLC

Household items, such as breakfast cereal, flour, corn starch and sugar are so common that many were left surprised after the 2008 combustible-dust explosion at a sugar refinery in Georgia. Heard in much of the early media coverage was the question “How could sugar explode?”

Plant explosions are, thankfully, not routine occurrences. However, when they do occur, it is the unusual event — often a combination of abnormal events — that is typically the trigger. This article outlines some of the guidelines that are available to help prevent dust explosions. It also offers a list of factors to consider when choosing explosion vent technology to minimize combustible-dust-explosion hazards.

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