Explosions and fires within the processing industry from combustible materials are a known hazard and can give rise to serious injury – perhaps even fatality – as well having as the potential to cause extensive plant and buildings damage and substantial loss of production.
A dust cloud of any combustible material will explode if the concentration is above the minimum explosible limit and in the presence of an effective source of ignition.
Self-heating and contact with hot surfaces (giving rise to spontaneous ignition) can give rise to additional hazards and must also be considered.
Guidance is available from many sources to prevent dust explosions and protect against them. One such source is the 1 day training course entitled “Dust Explosions – How to Demonstrate DSEAR/ATEX Compliance” on 29th October 2014 run by the Wolfson Centre team at the University of Greenwich in Kent.