What is in this article?:
- Grain dust explosions: K-State grain scientist discusses causes, precautions
- Grain type not an issue
- Several factors must be present for a grain dust explosion to occur.
- Removing any of those factors reduces the likelihood of a grain dust explosion.
The highest frequency of grain dust explosions occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Grain type not an issue
Q. Does it make a difference what kind of grain is stored?
McKinney: All grain dust can be explosive given the conditions described earlier are met. Other kinds of dust can be explosive. I believe it was in 2009 that a sugar mill that exploded in Georgia. Other kinds of dust, when suspended and with a source of ignition, can cause a fire or an explosion.
Q. Does low atmospheric humidity cause dust explosions?
McKinney: There’s no data that indicate that low atmospheric humidity causes dust explosions.
Q. Can high atmospheric humidity prevent dust explosions?
McKinney: There’s also no data that indicate that high atmospheric humidity prevents dust explosions.
Q. Is there more danger of an explosion in one type of construction – wood, steel or concrete – compared to others?
McKinney: No, there is no evidence to support that the type of construction makes a difference in grain dust explosions.
Q. Could this kind of accident happen in smaller, on-farm grain handling facilities?
McKinney: I would say any time you have a situation where you have an ignition source and grain dust, there’s the potential for a flash fire or an explosion.
“You have to stay on top of your maintenance and housekeeping and always have safety on your mind in whatever industry you’re in,” McKinney said.
Information about grain processing, including how to obtain a video, “Deadly Dust,” is available on the K-State Department of Grain Science and Industry website: www.grains.ksu.edu.