Speaker: Richard Greenwood, RG Chemical Safety
An explosive hazard hidden in plain sight
Through his presentation, Richard Greenwood opened our eyes about the hazards associated with combustible dust. Such hazards can slip under the radar, because these dusts are not classified as dangerous goods and therefore are not covered by any current chemical legislation. Examples include flour, coal dust, milk powder, sugar and plastics, which are potentially present in a huge number of workplaces, and yet there is poor workplace recognition of the hazard.
There is a complex set of circumstances that can lead to an incident, as Richard explained through his Explosion Pentagon that goes beyond the standard Fire Triangle. He demonstrated this via a video about an aluminium factory in the USA before then discussing an incident in Campbellfield, Victoria, where two workers were injured while undertaking routine maintenance.
Richard concluded by providing a number of takeaway messages, including how to address deficiencies in hot work permits, methods of housekeeping and design solutions.
As always, the presentation stimulated quite a bit of discussion; member Paul Burggraaf shared his knowledge and experience in working with plastic dust.
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