Dust explosions are an extreme hazard for North Carolina workers

Combustible dust is a deadly fear for a variety of industries concerned about preventing North Carolina work injuries.

Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, Greensboro and elsewhere in the state find fire-related injuries at work one of the most serious mass-casualty threats. Serious burn injuries can be life-altering and too much smoke inhalation is another issue with long-term health implications.
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According to United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration combustible dust is dangerous because its form is finely divided and can burn quickly. In some instances, if the dust is suspended in air at just the right concentration, it can explode. The force of explosions can destroy buildings leaving employees trapped. Explosions, over the course of several years, have killed, injured, or seriously scarred hundreds of people.

In a previous post on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog we reported about a recent fire accident at a Sherman Williams plant in Greensboro. It is believed vapor ignited causing burn injuries to the employee’s arms and face.

The biggest problem with combustible dust is that many employees don’t even know the hazard exists in their work environment. There are a number of materials that can form into combustible dust. These include: aluminum, magnesium, sugar, biosolids, plastics, coal, wood, certain textiles, paper, soap, and dried blood.

These kinds of materials are commonly found in a variety of industries. Industries subject to combustible dust explosion hazards are:

-Food (flour, starch, candy, sugar, spices) and grain
-Tobacco
-Plastics
-Wood and furniture
-Paper
-Rubber
-Textiles
-Pesticides
-Pharmaceuticals
-Coal
-Dyes
-Metals (aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc)
-Fossil fuel power generation

Employers need to make a conscious effort to keep employees safe from combustible dust hazards. One critical method of prevention is housekeeping, where the standards need to be set high. Routine checks of floor, overhead pipes and vents can be performed to help reduce the risk of an explosion.

If you have suffered an injury at work or are dealing with a workers’ compensation disability claim in Greensboro, Charlotte, or elsewhere in North Carolina, call the Law Offices of Lee & Smith for a free consultation. Work injuries can be life changing and should be compensated for so call 1-800-887-1965 today to discuss your rights.

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