Hazardous Combustible Material

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Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on combustible dust and the injuries it can cause to workers. Handling any kind of combustible material can be extremely hazardous if the right precautions are not taken. Workers who regularly handle combustible solids are exposed to potentially life-threatening injuries if the materials they are working with are exposed to a combustible dust cloud.

According to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), between 1980 and 2005, 119 workers were killed and another 718 were injured in over 280 combustible dust accidents in industrial facilities across the country. It is imperative that employers train workers on how to prevent such hazards from happening and how to control the situation if an explosion occurs.

Examples of Explosible Dust Materials

There are a wide range of materials that can be explosible when they are in dust form, including the following:

  • Sugar
  • Candy
  • Flour
  • Feed
  • Tobacco
  • Wood flour
  • Soap
  • Epoxy resin
  • Plastics
  • Paper
  • Rubber
  • Pesticides
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Dyes
  • Metals – aluminum, chromium, iron, titanium, magnesium, and zinc

Steps to Take to Avoid Dust-Related Accidents

Employers and employees should always take the proper safety precautions, particularly when working with potentially hazardous materials. The following steps can help prevent and control an explosion, a fire, or other destructive incidents caused by combustible dust:

  • Capture – It is imperative to capture the dust before it escapes into the work area. Only dust collection systems that are properly designed, installed, and approved should be used.
  • Contain – Combustible dust should be contained using equipment, systems or rooms that are specifically made to safely and effectively handle combustible dust.
  • Clean – Keeping work areas clean, including overhead surfaces and concealed spaces, and using the recommended cleaning methods will help remove combustible dust from the area.

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe work environment to all employees. If explosible dust is present, employers must take the right steps to protect workers from flash fires and explosions, which can have tragic consequences, including fatalities.

All employees should receive the proper training on workplace hazards, including being notified about the OSHA standards that apply to their specific work environment. If the right precautions are not taken, employees have the right to file a confidential complaint with OSHA. OSHA also prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who speak up about safety concerns they have about their work environment.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Injured Workers

If you have been seriously injured at work due to an accident involving combustible material, contact an experienced Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyer at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. If your employer did not provide a safe environment or failed to meet the standards set forth by OSHA, we will protect your rights and seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.