Developing company-wide guidelines for preventing dust explosions

Knovel helps a global chemicals company create a unified set of procedures for dust explosion safety

A global chemicals company needed a standardized set of procedures for preventing and dealing with explosions triggered by combustible dust. The company’s manager for corporate process safety used Knovel to gather a wealth of data on dust explosions, as well as case studies on previous explosions, and incorporated this data into an internal set of guidelines for combustible dust safety.

Developing company-wide guidelines for preventing dust explosions - Solution story Knovel | Elsevier


With 6,000 employees processing $2.5 billion worth of specialty chemical orders in 20 plants around the globe, the company lacked a set of uniform procedures for dealing with the hazard of explosions involving chemical dust. A worldwide set of guidelines was clearly needed. The company could have outsourced this task to an external expert, but it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. Instead, the task was assigned to the manager for corporate process safety, who is in charge of performing risk assessment analyses from a process standpoint.


The process safety manager searched Knovel, and its vast database of quantitative chemical data provided insights on the concentrations of various kinds of dust necessary to trigger an explosion. To prevent accidents, it was also important to know factors that have led to accidents with these chemicals in the past. The manager also found a number of resources from the Center for Chemical Process Safety, which included independently verified guidelines for the handling of combustible dusts and flammable vapors, as well as reports on specific dust explosion events, which documented the missteps that triggered each accident.

Handling combustible dust [quote 1] - Knovel | Elsevier

The company recognized the need for a worldwide set of procedures for handling combustible dust in a chemical process environment.


With the help of Knovel’s quantitative data, material handling analysis and explosion documentation, the process safety manager was able to produce an internal memo on dust explosion prevention. His memo provided precise guidelines on how to handle dusts carefully in a chemical process environment and explained the factors most likely to lead to an explosion. Taking advantage of Knovel’s expert insight and field-tested guidelines, he gained a clear understanding of the chemicals’ physical processes and the current best practices in the field.

Save by handling research internally [quote 2] - Knovel | Elsevier

By handling this research internally instead of outsourcing it, the company was able to save more than $30,000.

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