Six Contractors Burned in Two Recent Incidents

Two separate incidents in the past 10 days have resulted in burns to six contractors who were performing hot work in feed mills.
Please read the stories below and take appropriate action to shore up your hot work procedures.
Published by The Daily Standard
CELINA – Authorities believe welding inside a grain mill likely caused an explosion Thursday morning that injured two men and caused moderate damage at Mercer Landmark.
The victims – contractors from Indiana who were hired by the local company – reportedly suffered burns to their face, arms and legs. They initially were taken to Mercer County Community Hospital, Coldwater, and later to another facility in Indiana, but local officials could not confirm the location.
Mill fire

Celina Fire Chief Doug Wolters described the men’s injuries as severe but non-life-threatening. The pair reportedly were able to walk on their own into the ambulance at the scene.
Two Mercer Landmark employees were a short distance from the contractors when the explosion occurred shortly after 11 a.m. Both escaped injury, Wolters said.
The fire chief said the contractors were welding brackets around a 10-foot grain bin in the 400 block of West Market Street when a “flash fire” – a sudden, intense fire caused by a mixture of air and a flammable substance – occurred.
“It more than likely had something to do with that welding,” Wolters said this morning. “I’m pretty sure that’s where the ignition came from.”
The chief said the fire extinguished on its own before emergency crews arrived. He noted there likely were two explosions, although they occurred so rapidly in succession that no one noticed.

Published by The Arizona Republic

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Four people were burned Sunday evening in a grain-dust explosion at a Nestlé Purina plant in Flagstaff, authorities said.

Four contractors were doing welding work on the fifth floor of the plant, which is about 5 miles northeast of downtown Flagstaff, when dust produced during the foodmaking process ignited, according to Flagstaff Fire Department Capt. Bill Morse.

The explosion blew out several metal doors and burned all four contractors, who were sent to the hospital. One has severe burns, Morse said.

Grain dust is the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling, as it is highly combustible and can burn or explode if enough becomes airborne or accumulates on a surface and finds an ignition source such as welding, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The explosion caused a strange-looking cloud that was a combination of smoke and grain, Morse said.

The fire department called back its off-duty firefighters to cover stations while on-duty firefighters responded to the explosion, according to a Facebook post from the department.