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Combustible Dust Creates Safety Hazard

Factory is Fined for Putting Employees at Risk

Employees at a Paris, Illinois factory were exposed to excess amounts of combustible cornstarch dust which along with other hazards has caused the factory to be fined $46,400. The 21 serious safety violations put the employees at risk for explosion, says OSHA:

"Combustible dust can burn rapidly and explode with little warning, putting workers at risk for severe injury and death," said Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "OSHA's inspection found that Septimus used potential ignition sources, like forklifts and electrical equipment, in areas where combustible dust was present."

The factory's April inspection found that workers were exposed due to lack of protective covers. If this dust ends up suspended in the air in the right concentration, it can become explosive. The inspection found the company was operating powered vehicles that were in poor condition were being used in environments where combustible dust was present.

In addition to the vehicles, there were several electrical issues that could lead to unplanned combustion. These explosions can cause severe harm to factory and employees. In fact, The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that led to the deaths of 119 workers, 718 injuries and numerous extensively damaged industrial facilities.

Aside from explosion, employees can suffer respriatory illness or lung disease from inhaling the excess dust.

A "serious violation" rating occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. OSHA is going to great lengths to educate facilities on the dangers of dust explosion, and fining the factory's who are disregarding the safety protocol.

How to Minimize Dust Exposure

To minimize dust exposure, a proper system for dust collection must be in place. A proper system will intake all excess dust and create a basic environment that minimizes exposure and limit the amount filtered throughout your factory.

Our line of dust collection systems can be seen on our Dust Collection page. These solutions are not the only part of reliable air quality that will make a difference in your building. They help clean up your facility enviroment, we also provide air and electric powered portable and central Industrial vacuum units for general clean up and housekeeping issues your plant might be facing.

To learn more about how to avoid these costly fines, contact our experienced professionals who can tell you how our systems can create a custom solution for your factory.

Learn More about Dust Collection

Powder and Bulk Engineering and our partner Vac-U-Max are presenting a Dust Collection Webinar on January 6, 2015 and it's free! To learn more about Dust Collection, join this interactive session where you can learn all you need to know from industry professionals.

This webinar will describe how to assess the magnitude of the dust layer hazard, list the hazards from cleaning operations, explain the considerations for hiring a contractor for major cleanup, and review the design principles for successful vacuum cleaning systems, which are the preferred method in NFPA standards.

To register, visit the Vac-U-Max Webinar Page.



Posted by Larry Bennett at 2:17 PM

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