Case Study: Sugar Dust

Topics: Dust explosion, Dust, Safety Pages: 3 (686 words) Published: May 21, 2013
Case: Sugar Dust Explosion and Fire at Imperial Sugar Company

1. What factors/hazards could have caused the incident? Conduct a 4M (Man, Machine, Material, and Method) analysis on the possible causes.

* No officer level position responsible for workplace safety * Negligence of people in-charge to report or provide action to sugar spillage and dust control * Unorganized linkage between the heads/people concerned with safety * Minimal training of the HR director on occupational safety management experience and training

* Sugar handling and processing equipment were not adequately sealed * Unsealed screw conveyors and bucket elevators
* Poorly installed equipment
* Unventilated steel belt enclosure
* Steel belt enclosures were not equipped with a dust removal system and explosion vents * Fire sprinkler system failure
* No airborne dust removal equipment and dust removal equipment for other machines * Large open work areas were not equipped with airborne dust removal equipment

* Sugar dust(organic compound) accumulated to concentrations above minimum explosible concentration * Presence of flammable materials stored in every floor
* Multiple potential dust ignition sources identified inside the enclosures

* No immediate and permanent action regarding the constant problem of airborne sugar dust and sugar spillage in the powdered sugar processing and packaging work areas * Too much material handling operations

* Not designed to safely vent overpressure outside the building if combustible dust inside the enclosure ignited * Lack of warning signals
* Inappropriate way of transporting the sugar granules
* Dust handling system was not properly maintained

2. Which accident/incident theory applies to the situation? Explain.

Energy Release Theory
The incident was mainly caused by a great frequency of energy transfer. From the case, it was...
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