Explosion Safety

Posted by Matt Bushey in #YHSafetyTips, Feb 21, 2018

Explosions are defined by Merriam-Webster as a large-scale, rapid, or spectacular expansion or bursting out or forth. Explosions can be triggered by many different causes, but all can be prevented through different safety measures.

One type of explosion is caused by a hot work coming in contact with flammable materials such as dust, gases, and liquids. Hot work is using items such as grinders, torches, brazing, burning, soldering, and production of molten metal.

Measures to prevent this type of explosion:

Combustive Dust Explosions

Combustive Dust Explosions are overlooked too often, but these are a major cause of fire and explosions. These can happen in a variety of types of industry. From chemical, pharmaceutical, woodworking, food manufacturing, and many more. These are more combustible in particle form than a larger solid.

A dust explosion occurs when five factors come into play. These are: oxygen, ignition, dispersion, confinement, and fuel. These five factors are also know as the Dust Explosion Pentagon. All parts of the pentagon must be present for a dust explosion to occur.

Dust Explosions happen as a result of: oxygen, ignition, dispersion, confinement, and fuel

Prevention of Dust Explosions

    To identify factors that may contribute to a explosion, OSHA recommends a thorough hazard assessment of:
  • All materials handled
  • All operations conducted, including by-products
  • All spaces (including hidden ones)
  • All potential ignition sources.

Combustible Dust: An Insidious Hazard - A CSB video as part of the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board


    Control the dust too:
  • Implement a hazardous dust inspection, testing, housekeeping, and control program
  • Use proper dust collection systems and filters
  • Minimize the escape of dust from process equipment or ventilation systems
  • Use surfaces that minimize dust accumulation and facilitate cleaning
  • Provide access to all hidden areas to permit inspection
  • Inspect for dust residues in open and hidden areas at regular intervals
  • If ignition sources are present, use cleaning methods that do not generate dust clouds
  • Use only vacuum cleaners approved for dust collection
  • Locate relief valves away from dust deposits

Dust Explosion Using Corn Startch


Contact YorkHoist today to get help you store flammable materials here. Make sure to have the PPE, fire cabinets, and assess your company’s other material handling processes you currently have to become OSHA compliant.

Missed last week’s #YHSafetyTips post on Heart Health safety, read it here.

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