July 05, 2022
The hazards of combustible dust are life-threatening.
From 1980 to 2005, combustible dust incidents lead to 199 worker deaths and 718 injuries, according to OSHA.
In 2010, at AL Solutions in New Cumberland, West Virginia, an explosion and fire occurred from combustible dust. According to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and a safety video, the metal recycling facility “processed scrap titanium and zirconium metal.” A machine needing additional repairs (it had allegedly been repaired, but not to a high enough standard) sparked and “likely ignited” the zirconium. The spark started a fire and caused another explosion. Three workers died in the incident, and one was injured.
There are many materials workers are around on a daily basis that can be flammable as dust, such as grain, plastics, coal, and aluminum. Even if an object is not flammable, it may be like dust.