Published: Jan 1987
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After the explosions of December 1977 intense scrutiny was given to the occurrence of fires and explosions in grain handling and processing facilities in the United States.
The conditions leading to fires and explosions in these facilities—fuel, oxidizer, ignition, mixing, and confinement—had been identified immediately following World War I.
At the beginning of this decade the National Academy of Sciences investigated 14 explosion incidents, reported on the findings, and made recommendations concerning accident prevention. As the decade has progressed, however, these fires and explosions have continued with reports of investigations being available for some major incidents. The continuing critical factor in these explosions is the massive uncontrolled accumulations of fuel. In the effort to eliminate this industrial hazard, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued Draft Final Standards pertaining to safety hazards in grain-handling facilities. It is clear that it is technically feasible to eliminate fire and explosion hazards from the grain and agricultural products industry because these events do not occur as a result of unknown, unpreventable causes.
dust explosions, primary explosions, secondary explosions, grain elevators
Associate professor, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI