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Safety precautions in industrial dust accumulation

Posted on in Workplace Accidents

As California workers may know, dust accumulation in a workplace environment may lead to an explosion when not monitored and and controlled. In a 25-year period ending in 2005, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board reported 281 combustible dust incidents that resulted in injuries to 718 workers and the death of 119.

Safe-handling procedures are important to lower the risk in environments where dust accumulates in the air. Combustible dust may accumulate in a number of work environments, including plants that work with sugar, wood, plastics, coal and pesticides. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2008, an explosion of sugar dust in a plant in Georgia resulted in the deaths of 14 individuals. Industries that may be subject to dust accumulation include metalworking operations, agriculture, pharmaceutical manufacture, and chemical manufacturing plants.

Control of hazardous conditions created by the accumulation of dust in the work environment may result in safer working conditions. With inspections and air testing conducted as a form of preventive maintenance, there may be less likelihood that adverse events might occur. According to OSHA, when combustible materials enter the air as dust and are suspended, an explosion may occur if the right conditions and concentration is reached. This includes materials such as iron that do not normally burn in larger pieces.

Monitoring dust accumulation is essential in some workplace environments, including the prevention of iron worker accidents and injuries. A worker who has been injured due to careless monitoring or lack of required safety gear at the workplace may benefit from speaking to an attorney. Legal counsel may explain the differences between filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits and bringing a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence.

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