Calif. Building Explosion Underscores Need for Explosion-Proof Vacuum

Recently, 11 people were hurt in an explosion and fire in a metal-polishing shop in the Los Angeles area. Two of the 11 were critically injured, with third-degree burns covering 90% of their bodies, according to the Associated Press. Most of the victims suffered smoke inhalation.

iStock_000022063722SmallThe accident occurred at Gorilla’s Polishing Corp. located in La Habra, California. The resulting fire took about 40 minutes to extinguish, with 50 firefighters working to knock down the flames.

A preliminary investigation revealed the explosion was purportedly caused by dust and lint buildup in a duct system, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department Inspector Scott Miller.

Incidents such as these are tragic reminders of the importance of maintaining a clean HVAC system as well as using an explosion-proof vacuum to keep your facility clean. It’s critical to take all the steps necessary to prevent an explosion or fire when you’re dealing with dust or powered substances at your facility.

Over 25,000 facilities in the US are considered hazardous because they contain airborne dust and flammable particles, according to OSHA. Fine combustible materials can burn rapidly and when a combustible dust is suspended in the air, it can explode.

The following materials can cause a combustible dust explosion: wood, coal, plastics, metals, sugar, paper, soap and textiles. A combustible dust explosion hazard may exist in a variety of industries including grain, food, plastics, paper, pulp, wood, rubber, furniture, pesticides, tobacco, food, coal, pharmaceuticals, metals and fossil fuels.

Sometimes facility managers, employers and other employees are not aware a hazard even exists. If your facility handles any of the above materials – among others – it’s imperative to use a specialized vacuum to keep your facility clean.

Goodway’s DV-AV-EP Dry Hazardous Area Vacuum recovers fine powders like coal dust, flammable dust and other powders. It’s certified for use in hazardous locations.

The vacuum is powered by compressed air and has a non-sparking, stainless steel tank and an anti-static 1 micron pocket filter. It can be used safely in areas where other vacuums could pose a risk of explosion. Other vacuums are available in 115V electric power configurations.

Combustible dust explosions can cause serious employee injuries as well as death, and/or the destruction of buildings. Such incidents have occurred over the past few decades as this video from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board illustrates.

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