In some manufacturing jobs, combustible dust is a serious problem. When some types of dust are dispersed in the air, they might explode, causing serious injuries that can be fatal. It is important for workplaces in South Carolina and around the country to take steps to prevent dust buildup in order to prevent these types of explosions.
Hazardous dust may form from carbonaceous materials, metals, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products, plastics and dyes. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration maintains a list of different dust types that have the potential to explode. Employers should check the list, assess their risks and then implement strategies to control dust buildup.
There are dust control systems that can be installed in workplaces. They collect dust so that it doesn’t build up in the air. They should not be located inside of the building and must be properly grounded so that they do not ignite the collected dust with static charges. Exterior walls should have explosion venting systems installed that direct any explosions away from the workers. Employers should also implement cleaning policies for work areas, overhead areas and concealed spaces. Cleanup should be performed frequently so that dust doesn’t have time to build up.
South Carolina residents have likely heard stories about these types of explosions in grain mills and other facilities, such as the one near Savannah in 2008 that claimed the lives of several workers. These incidents often result in incapacitating injuries that require extensive medical care and treatment, during which period a return to work is impossible. People who have been injured in this manner may want to have legal assistance when they are filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.