Dust, Explosions and Fire
Though very rare in the UK, the risk of a dust explosion is taken very seriously by the flour milling industry. Dust explosions require the presence of an explosible dust, air/oxygen and a source of ignition. Flour, wheat and related dusts have explosive qualities. Research commissioned by nabim has presented consistent and logical results for a range of dusts to be found in a flour mill; the research confirms that flour is low on the level of explosible dusts. Also, the minimum ignition energy levels recorded in the research gave no cause for concern.
The information contained in the booklet, ‘The Explosibility of Flour, Gluten and Wheat Dust', provides millers with virtually all the data they require to identify the explosibility characteristics of their raw materials and products in the Explosion Protection documents that they are required to draw up in line with the requirements of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR). The booklet is available to download free on this page.
The prevention of fire, a source of ignition, is a key step in preventing dust explosions. nabim collects data from mills on any fires they suffer and has also commissioned research into the factors which determine whether or not a fire within the milling process will lead to an explosion.
nabim retains a highly-regarded consultant to advise the industry on safe practice and relevant research, legislation and standards. Some of his recent reports are available for full members to download here, as well as some older reports which will still be of interest.