Combustible dust is a real hazard but the shocking thing is, many industries don’t know how dangerous it can be. Almost every manufacturing and industrial processing facility have combustible dust. And, where there’s combustible dust, there’s fire.

If combustible dust is not cleaned in your facility, a fire and explosion can occur and result in serious damage to your facility, your business and most importantly, your employees. The following are 15 industries that have been rocked by combustible dust.

3D Printing

Powderpart Inc. was cited by OSHA for grave workplace violations following the November 5th, 2013 explosion third caused serious burns to workers. Investigations by OSHA revealed that Powderpart did not do enough to protect the workers from titanium and aluminum alloy dust and the company was subsequently fined $64,000.

Aerospace and Defense

An explosion that occurred at the UTC Aerospace Systems in Vergennes, Dec 8, 2017, resulting in 3 people being sent to the hospital.

Auto Manufacturing

This incident happened on September 23, 2015, where a 33-year-old worker at the Nakanishi Manufacturing Corp. plant suffered serious burns when a dust explosion took place when operating a dust collector. According to OSHA, the incidence was a safety negligence and charges of $144,995 were proposed since the plant had four exact previous fires.

Environmental Services

An explosion at the Veolia Environmental Services occurred on October 25th, 2014 killing one person and injuring five others. The dust collector caught fire and ignited the airborne dust leading to a second explosion. The company and the manager were charged with criminal negligence.

Food Manufacturing - Confectionary

A massive fire engulfed the Wrigley’s plant dust collector and burst through the roof. The March 11, 2015 incidence did not cause any injuries.

Food Manufacturing – Ingredients

On June 28, 2017, a dust explosion at T.I.C Gums resulted in a fire and damaged equipment worth $30,000.

Food Manufacturing – Pet Food

Four welders who were working at the Nestle Purina PetCare Plant were burned when grain dust caught fire as the area was not properly cleaned. OSHA fined the company $5000, and Nestle paid $3500. One of the welding contractors took the company to court for personal injuries.

Food Manufacturing - Sugar

This is the much-publicized incident that took place at the Imperial Sugar Company in Savannah Georgia. The facility was totally destroyed after a number of sugar dust explosions rocked the facility. 14 workers lost their lives and 38 more were injured. The company was hit with $8,777,500 in fines from OSHA.

Furniture Manufacturing

A furniture manufacturing plant in Abbotsford, BC caught fire on September 12, 2016, and exploded, luckily, no one was hurt.

Grain Milling

On May 31, 2017, an explosion at Didion Milling Inc. based in Cambria, Wisconsin killed 5 workers and investigations revealed that there was a leakage that was not controlled and highly combustible dust levels that worsened the situation. The company is facing fines of about $1,837,861.

Ink Manufacturing

A poorly designed dust collection system caused a flash fire that burned seven employees inside the facility. The system accumulated combustible dust and hydrocarbons in one day. This event took place at the U.S Ink Facility at East Rutherford, New Jersey on 9th October 2012.

Metal Powders

Five people died and three more were injured after a series of flash fires occurred at the Hoeganaes Corporation based in Gallatin, TN on 31st January 2011, 29th March 2011 and May 27, 2011. The main problem was the dust collecting system that was unreliable.

Metal Recycling

The AL Solutions Plant in New Cumberland, West Virginia experienced a metal dust explosion that led to the demise of 3 employees and caused an injury to a contractor. This event took place on December 9, 2010.

Pharmaceutical device manufacturing

On January 29, 2003, 6 workers died and 38 others were injured after a serious explosion rocked West Pharmaceutical Services in Kinston, North Carolina. The main problem was a failure to assess combustible dust in the facility.


A fire broke out on one evening of January 20, 2012, at the Babine Forests Products facility in Burns Lake, Columbia. The fire alarm went unnoticed and the fire caused an explosion killing 2 workers and injuring 20 others.

These are just a few examples that highlight the dangers of combustible dust. Remember, combustible dust and fires are preventable.