Food processing facilities are essential to creating the foods and products we consume daily. But food processing facilities can be dangerous places for workers without proper protection.
In our explainer, we’ll break down why food processing workers need fire-resistant (FR) clothing, the hazards of food processing facilities, and more.
Combustible Dust Risks in Food Processing Facilities
One of the most significant hazards in food processing facilities is combustible dust. You may not be familiar with it, but combustible dust has been responsible for hundreds of explosions and fires in food facilities over the past three decades. It has resulted in many injured and fatally wounded people.
It’s a significant threat to worker safety, but what is combustible dust?
What Is Combustible Dust?
We’re all familiar with dust, and in food processing facilities that process substantial amounts of food, tons of dust can get in the air all over the facility. Unfortunately, this dust is often highly flammable. Once ignited, it can create explosions and flash fires when suspended in the air near oxygen or an electrical or heat source.
Combustible dust can be the byproduct of many foods and materials, including:
Grain dust is especially combustible, and many facilities that process these foods are enormous and contain hundreds of workers, so safety is essential.
Areas of Combustible Dust Risk in Food Facilities
You could find combustible dust practically anywhere in facilities that process thousands and millions of pounds of food. Even the walls can be magnets for dust as it lingers in the air, and cleaning all the facilities’ walls is challenging.
Vents also typically house combustible dust, as it gets sucked into the vent, then spreads throughout the facility. It may eventually end up in areas with electrical or heat sources.
How To Protect Workers From Combustible Dust
Combustible dust is clearly a hazard to worker safety, so how do we protect workers? Companies should implement thorough cleaning and maintenance procedures to prevent the buildup of combustible dust. Food processing workers also need FR clothing.
Even with all the proper procedures, flash fires and explosions in food processing facilities still occur. So workers need protection like fire-resistant coveralls, pants, shirts, and gloves to protect themselves should accidents and fires occur.
For a food processing facility to be safe and for the workers inside to feel protected, FR clothing is essential. It can help combat the harm of combustible dust fires and explosions.