This is exactly the type of incident that I will be talking about at the ImechE in Sheffield. They were putting out a wood dust fire in an external filter hopper at a furniture factory. They opened the hopper allowing air to rush in and raise the dust to allow a dust deflagration incident. Fortunately this was a unconfined deflagration incident, if there was sufficient confinement higher pressures could have result allowing for a real explosion realising greater energy with higher flame velocities and possible missiles.
This is similar to incidents I presented at the MHEA conference in 2015. I reported on 2 incidents in Scotland in July 2015: https://www.explosionhazards.co.uk/two-dust-explosion-incidents-in-scotland/
The initial incident was followed by a second, larger explosion, but in the case of the James Jones & Sons in Forres left seven men injured, including three firefighters, the injured the firefighters attempting to control the scene. The explosion is thought to have originated from a wood dust storage silo on the site.
Both of these incidents highlight a lack of education and awareness around the issue of dust explosions. Although they are not commonplace, dust explosions are potentially devastating and can occur in any number of industries, as outlined here.
If you’re unsure about whether your workplace is up to explosion protection standards, take the time to contact us and ensure that you’re protected against any potential explosions.
Come to the IMechE Conference in Sheffield Thursday 22nd of September next to hear and learn about more incidents.