Most explosions that did take place occurred in one region of the US.

Kristen Kazarian, Managing Editor

February 27, 2024

2 Min Read
No increase in dust explosions in 2023
Dust explosions have mostly been in corn milling.DarcyMaulsby / iStock via Getty Images

Purdue University's College of Agriculture has found that there was no increase in dust explosions in 2023, and the 10-year average remains unchanged.

The annual summary recording nationwide grain dust bin explosions reported nine incidents in the US in 2023. This means that there was no increase from the nine reported incidents in 2022. The 10-year average of 8.4 explosions remains relatively unchanged. The average is significantly lower than the average number of incidents that occurred prior to the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s grain handling standard in 1988.

Kingsly Ambrose, Purdue University professor of agricultural and biological engineering and report author, said all the explosions occurred in the Midwest with most of them taking place in the corn handling or processing industry.

The explosions occurred in one ethanol plant, one wheat mill, two grain elevators, two soybean processing plants, two corn processing plants and one corn cob processing plant. The probable ignition sources were identified in two cases as fire and another as equipment malfunction, while six cases were from unknown sources. Fuel sources for all nine of the explosions were identified as grain dust.  

The dust explosions occurred in four different states, with three each in Illinois and Minnesota, two in Iowa and one in Indiana.   

“Dust explosions are one of the most serious hazards that can occur in the grain industry," said Ambrose. "The explosions can also lead to significant financial and personal losses from downtime, repair, injuries, and fatalities.

“There is a critical need to educate the workers and employers on dust explosion prevention within a facility, including assessments of dust accumulation and dust explosion protection methods.” 

Ambrose also stressed the need to develop relevant and practical hands-on educational materials to raise awareness and adoption of prevention technologies by grain handling and processing facilities.

View our Dust Collection section here to stay up to date on hoods and other dust collection equipment. Also, our Explosion Protection & Safety section for solutions to prevent an explosion.

About the Author(s)

Kristen Kazarian

Managing Editor

Kristen Kazarian has been a writer and editor for more than three decades. She has worked at several consumer magazines and B2B publications in the fields of food and beverage, packaging, processing, women's interest, local news, health and nutrition, fashion and beauty, automotive, and computers.

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