Explosion hazards in various industries and sectors
Explosion risk occurs in a surprising number of industries. We primarily think of processing and storing flammable substances in the chemical industry.
But there are many more sectors with a real risk of combustion of substances in the air. An overview:
In the petrochemical industry and at refineries, hydrocarbons often present an explosion hazard at normal ambient temperatures. In other branches of chemistry, various processes use flammable gases, liquids and solids. In some cases, the raw materials are already flammable. Often new substances are produced during the process that presents a fire and explosion hazard. And then not only in contact with fire but even with simple exposure to the outside air or water!
At the landfill, we see problems with “forcing” due to the decay processes. Gases can also form here, which accumulates in cavities and can escape in the event of mechanical disruption and may explode. Extensive technical measures are needed to prevent such disasters.
During work on the (rail) infrastructure, we mainly see explosion risks in poorly ventilated tunnels and underground spaces, such as sewage pipes. Gas accumulation or dust clouds can cause an explosive atmosphere.
Power plants can cause highly flammable (dust) clouds during storage or transfer of coal or other fuel, especially in large storage sheds where a lot of mechanical processing (with shovels or conveyor belts) takes place.
Although water itself is not a flammable material, fermentation gases can form during the purification of sewage water, which can result in explosive gas/air mixtures.
The risks at gas companies are obvious. All the more reason to constantly insist on enforcing safety rules to prevent explosions.
Wood processing releases wood dust that can form an explosive mixture in silos and ventilation systems (filters). While machine processing of wood can easily cause sparks or fire.
When spraying parts in spray booths, a mixture of paint particles and/or solvents in the air can cause an explosion risk.
If a farm produces biogas, there is a risk of explosion. This also applies to the processing of grains or hay. Dust particles in the air become highly flammable at a certain concentration.
An explosive atmosphere can also arise in metal processing. We see it for example in aluminum foundries where cast parts are ground. Fine suspended matter, particularly from light materials, can easily ignite, resulting in an explosion.
Explosive dust clouds may form during transport and handling of grain, sugar, flour, milk powder and other organic materials. Explosion hazard is especially prevalent with filters of extraction systems, with a high concentration of dust.
Just like in the chemical industry, pharmaceutical companies often use highly flammable substances. Consider alcohol as a solvent, but also fine additives, such as lactose, which present a risk of dust explosions.
When recycling waste, various often unidentified substances come together. Including possibly emptied cans and bottles with flammable gases or liquids. Dust from paper or plastics also creates an explosion hazard at recycling companies.
Explosion risk in your organization?
Whether your processes entail a certain explosion hazard and what you can do about it? We are happy to advise you. We are completely independent of suppliers of security and alarm systems. This guarantees objective advice about explosion risk. Our involvement in ATEX standards also ensures that you receive up-to-date advice.