A 25-year-old man was killed when a hammer mill exploded while he was at work at JCG Farms Feed Mill. OSHA proposed $10,000 in fines for the company as well as citations for two contractors after the accident that also sent five others to the hospital. While dust has long been known to cause lung disease or other breathing issues, it has the potential to be explosive as well.
Dust itself isn’t flammable, but it can form a deadly mixture when it gets into the air and mixes with other substances. In some cases, a small explosion may create a chain reaction as more dust is blown into the air that could potentially catch on fire. Dust of almost any kind such as sugar or finely shaved soap can be a fire hazard if it accumulates in the air.
Employers may be able to prevent such explosions from happening by identifying any materials such as dyes or spices that could be harmful. From there, a dust collection system should be implemented that guards against leaks as well as potential static discharge. They should also be located outside of a building and have detectors that can prevent or suppress any type of explosion from taking place.
Unfortunately, even when all workplace safety protocols and OSHA recommendations followed, workplace accidents continue to happen. An employee who has been injured in one often has to miss work for extended periods of time. People who are in this position may want to have legal assistance when preparing and filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that could include medical treatment and partial wage replacement.