When there is combustible material suspended as dust in the air, it can, under certain circumstances, explode. The dust can explode from some materials that don’t burn when they are in large pieces.
There are many materials that will explode when in dust form. These include:
— Foods, such as sugar, starch, feed, flour, candy and spice
— Metals, such as zinc, iron, magnesium, chromium and aluminum
When an explosion does occur, the destruction can be catastrophic. Employees can be killed or seriously injured and entire buildings can be destroyed. In 2010, three West Virginia workers were killed in an explosion caused by titanium dust. In 2008, 14 employees were killed when an explosion caused by sugar dust happened in Georgia.
According to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board found 281 incidents caused by combustible dust that resulted in 119 worker deaths between 1980 and 2005. Another 718 workers were injuries and many industrial facilities were extensively damaged.
When a dust explosion occurs, there were will be many agencies that will investigate the incident. Injured workers need to receive the medical care they need and understand what benefits they have under workers’ compensation. Work-related accidents can also result in workers’ deaths. The victims’ survivors may also be eligible for benefits under workers’ compensation. An attorney who is experienced in workers’ compensation claims can provide you with more information on those benefits and how to proceed with your claims. He or she can also provide help for those who find their initial workers’ compensation claim has been denied.
Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Combustible Dust: An Explosion Hazard,” accessed May 24, 2016