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Analysis of the Effect of Prevailing Weather Conditions on the Occurrence of Grain Dust Explosions

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 22(3): 187-197. (doi: 10.13031/jash.22.11654) @2016
Authors:   Achint Sanghi, R. P. Kingsly Ambrose
Keywords:   Dust explosions, Grain dust, Safety, Weather.

Abstract. Grain dust explosions have been occurring in the U.S. for the past twenty years. In the past ten years, there have been an average of ten explosions a year, resulting in nine fatalities and 93 injuries. In more than half of these cases, the ignition source remains unidentified. The effect of ambient humidity on the likelihood of a dust explosion has been discussed for many years. However, no investigation into a possible link between the two has been carried out. In this study, we analyzed local weather data and grain dust explosions during the period 2006 to 2014 to measure potential relationships between the two events. The 84 analyzed explosions do not show any trend with regard to prevailing temperatures, or relative or absolute humidity. In addition, the ignition source could not be identified in 54 of the incidents. The majority of grain dust explosion incidents occurred at grain elevator facilities, where the dust generation potential was high compared with grain processing industries.

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