Timeline of Events
History of Industrial Explosions
Combustible dust related fires and explosions have been a danger since the dawn of manufacturing. However, as our plants get bigger and our processes get better, we deal with more and more combustible dust hazards. While these incidents aren’t 100% preventable, manufacturers should not view them as inevitable. It is important that we learn from the past and make safe choices for a new future.
2011 — THREE Incidents — Hoeganaes, Gallatin, TN
Accumulations of fine iron powder with lack of engineering controls and basic housekeeping resulted in multiple fires. Two died on January 31, 2011, one serious injury occurred on March 29, and three deaths and two injuries occurred on May 27. As a result of these incidents, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) urged OSHA to publish a combustible dust standard in one year.
February 7, 2008 — Imperial Sugar - Savannah, GA
Sugar dust that had accumulated in production areas exploded, killing 14, and injuring hundreds more. This resulted in $8 million in OSHA fines. The explosion at the Imperial Sugar plant was a worldwide news event that led to the creation of new standards and policies that would forever change the public’s awareness of the dangers of combustible dust.
February 20, 2003 — CTA Acoustics - Corbin, KY
Phenolic resin dust accumulated in production areas, causing a combustible dust explosion that killed seven people.
February 25, 1999 — Jahn Foundry – Springfield, MA
Phenolic resin dust accumulated in the ventilation ducts causing a combustible dust explosion that killed three people and left nine others injured.
Recent Combustible Dust News & Events
- 3/11/2008: OSHA issues their National Emphasis Program on Combustible Dust
- 10/2009: NEP Status Update
- More than 1,000 inspections conducted
- More than 4,900 violations relating to combustible dust
- 20% of violations pertain to housekeeping
- 10/21/2009: OSHA publishes advanced notice of proposed rulemaking
- 12/2009 — 4/2010: Combustible dust stakeholder meetings
- 4/2011: Initiated SBREFA (to determine small business impact)
- 1/2012: CSB puts additional pressure on OSHA to publish a rule within one year
Early Timeline of Events
1621 – 1 dead – First recorded mine explosion, methane gas, England
1705 – 30 dead – Mine explosion, methane gas, England
1785 – First recorded mill explosion, flour dust, Italy
1803 – Coal dust explosion in mine, England
1844 – 95 dead – Methane gas explosion, coal mine, England
Late 1800s – Studies of flour mill explosions begin in the United States
1896 – National Fire Protection Association formed ( NFPA )
1900 – 246 dead – Coal dust mine explosion, Utah
Early 1900s – Studies of coal dust explosions begin in the United States
1907 – 362 dead, 239 dead and 34 dead in different coal mine explosions in the
1911 – NFPA create Explosive Dust Committee
1951 – 199 dead – Methane explosion, coal mine, Illinois
1970 – Occupation Safety & Health Administrations is formed ( OSHA )