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Chris Cloney, author of the new report on dust explosions and fires. Image courtesy of MyDustExplosionResearch.com

New Report on 2017 Dust Explosions Released

237 combustible dust explosions and fires occurred around the world last year, injuring 163 people and killing 13, according to a new report by MyDustExplosionResearch.com, a website and community dedicated to combustible dust incident prevention, protection, and research. Of the incidents compiled in report, 2017 saw 68 dust explosions and 169 fires globally, with food or wood products as the combustible material in more than 60% of reported cases.

Chris Cloney, the author of the research who is currently a PhD candidate in process engineering and applied science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, said the effort is part of a larger plan to build a data set on dust-related fires and explosions called the Combustible Dust Incident (CDI) database. He will speak about combustible dust fires and explosions and his work at the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference & Exhibition in Rosemont, IL on Thur., April 26, 2018.

“This portal will allow process safety professionals and those involved in processing facilities to track what is going on in their industry and generate loss history data. It will also allow us to better understand the macro-trends across various industries and geographic regions, which is important for increasing safety globally, said Cloney in an interview with Powder & Bulk Solids.

The report, now in its second annual edition, is perhaps the first comprehensive effort to document combustible dust incidents on an annual basis. Several similar data collection efforts have focused specifically on dust explosions, but Cloney said he made a deliberate effort to document dust-related fires in his work.

“Dust fires should be taken very seriously. When involved with equipment, a dust fire typically has four sides of the explosion pentagon (fuel, oxidizer, ignition, and confinement). All that is missing is dispersion of the dust to have a flash fire/explosion. There are several instances last year of this dispersion happening from backdraft when equipment is opened, equipment failure, or disturbance while trying to extinguish the fire,” Cloney told Powder & Bulk Solids. “These are particularly severe in terms of injuries as the operators or first responders are near the equipment when the deflagration occurs.

To view the full version of the MyDustExplosionResearch.com report, click here.

Cloney has held junior and intermediate roles as a technical engineering consultant and software developer with Lloyd's Register. He also completed a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Dalhousie prior to entering the PhD program.

Sponsors of the report include: Boss Products LLC, Rembe, IEP Technologies, Firefly AB, Jensen Hughes, Fike, Century Fire Protection, A T Industrial Products, Fauske & Associates, Camfil APC, Construction Specialties, Pulse, IVEC Systems, Industrial Fire Prevention, and Powder & Bulk Solids

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