When I wrote my PhD thesis, I focused on scientific research into the physics and chemistry of dust explosions. However, this more practical question of lives touched by combustible dust incidents had always loomed in the back of my mind.
In the opening of my thesis, I listed sources reporting over 2000 incidents, 4000 injuries, and 1000 fatalities around the world since the start of the 20th century. Finding these incidents proved quite difficult as the data is scattered across textbooks, government reports, reports by standardized bodies, and articles from scientific journals. Each of these sources, in turn, referenced dozens, if not hundreds, of other sources for their information.
The dispersed nature of information around combustible dust hazards is just one of the challenges facing our community. Other challenges include lack of general awareness of the hazards, limited generation of knowledge from past incidents, effective communication between stakeholders, and a lack of advocacy to influence change across the globe.
Our purpose at DustEx Research Ltd. and in the Dust Safety Academy is to tackle these challenges one-by-one and reduce loss from dust explosions world-wide.