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Explosion Safety

Explosion hazards are an ever-present reality in industries that handle, process or store flammable liquids, gasses, and combustible particulate solids (dust).
Our Explosion Safety experts can help you identify potential hazards, quantify loss potential, and develop cost-effective protection solutions.

How PLC Can Help

Our team of explosion protection experts have the expertise and decades of experience to understand the risks and consequences of an explosion and develop a custom explosion safety program for your facility.

Explosions present a significant life safety risk and can result in extensive damage to buildings and equipment. The factors that contribute to the risk and severity of an explosion can be complex, and the measures required to mitigate the risks and protect facilities and personnel demand specialized knowledge.

Prevention of ignition sources

The prevention of ignition sources is crucial to ensuring explosion safety in industrial settings. Ignition sources, such as sparks, open flames, or electrical equipment, can trigger explosive atmospheres, leading to catastrophic incidents. Implementing safety measures like regular equipment maintenance, training employees on ignition prevention, and utilizing explosion-proof materials in accordance with safety regulations are essential in minimizing the risk of ignition-related accidents. By proactively addressing potential ignition sources, such as explosion pressure, companies can create a safer work environment and reduce the likelihood of explosions. Additionally, implementing measures such as explosion pressure relief and explosion suppression can help limit the consequences of an explosion.

Ventilation to prevent explosion hazards

Ventilation is a critical aspect of explosion safety, especially in industrial settings where hazardous materials are present. Proper ventilation systems can help prevent the accumulation of explosive gases or dust particles that could lead to a catastrophic event. By ensuring adequate airflow and ventilation in work areas, the risk of ignition and subsequent explosion can be significantly reduced, ensuring the safety of workers and industrial assets. Implementing ventilation measures as part of an overall safety plan is essential for protecting both personnel and property from the dangers associated with potential explosions and hazardous areas. In fact, ventilation is one of the most effective ways to prevent explosion hazards in the workplace.

Our Professionalism and Dedication to Explosion Safety

PLC has been and is currently an active member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee on Explosion Prevention Systems and has spent decades developing an understanding of hazard and explosion safety requirements from additional organizations, including:

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How Can We Help?

We’d love to understand your fire and life safety needs to see how we can help. Please reach out to us to schedule a conversation.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an explosion?
    • The NFPA 68 Standard for Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting defines an explosion as the bursting or rupturing of an enclosure or a container due to the development of internal pressure from a deflagration.
    • A deflagration is the rapid burning of a premixed fuel consisting of an oxidizer, a flammable gas/vapour, combustible mists, combustible dust or hybrid mixture.
    How do explosions occur?
    • Explosions occur when heat or ignition sources are introduced into a flammable/combustible mixture in a confined space. Confined spaces being a tank, equipment enclosures or buildings, with no explosion protection features.
    What is a dust explosion hazard?
    • Many dusts are combustible and can pose explosion hazards in process equipment and buildings. Common industries with combustible dust explosion hazards include the wood industry (wood dust), agricultural/food industry (grain, flour, sugar, starch, etc.), and chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
    What protection do you need for explosion hazards?
    • Each facility that processes, handles, and stores flammable and combustible materials will be subjected to certain Fire Codes and Fire Protection Standards.
    • The protection requirements are detailed in the appropriate Fire Code requirements and Fire Protection Standards for your facility.
    • For example, in Canada, a woodworking facility that generates lots of wood dust would be required to comply with Part 5 of the National Fire Code of Canada and the NFPA 664 Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, as well as other codes and standards referenced within to manage dust hazard risk.
    • Typical explosion protection involves protection of equipment containing explosion hazards using an approved explosion protection system, process monitoring, system and equipment sensors and interlocks, regular housekeeping, the use of proper electrical equipment classified for hazardous environments, and regular inspection, testing and maintenance.
    What is the best way to protect equipment?
    • This depends on the hazard’s explosibility characteristics, the equipment’s type and location.
    • A common method of protecting equipment is deflagration venting or explosion venting. This can be a cost-effective solution. But there are things to consider, such as the effects of the vented fireball, explosion isolation, pressure relief, monitoring of the vents, suppressant systems, interlocks to shut down the process or redirect material away from the affected equipment, and approved isolation devices to prevent the propagation of the flames to connected equipment.
    • There are flame-quenching vents, referred to as flameless vents, that can be used when a resulting fireball is not desired. In many situations where venting may not be desirable, there are other protection methods detailed in NFPA 69 – Standard for Explosion Protection Systems that can be reviewed.
    How do I know if I need explosion protection?
    • You need explosion protection if your facility uses or produces flammable gasses, flammable/combustible liquids, or combustible dust/powders.
    • PLC’s team of explosion safety and explosion suppression experts can assess your facility, identify risks for an explosion, and recommend mitigation and prevention methods.
    Which industry sectors does PLC provide explosion protection consulting services?
    • PLC’s explosion safety team has served the wood industry (sawmills, wood pellet plants, Oriented Strand Board manufacturing, melamine board manufacturing, etc), power generation, pharmaceutical industry, chemical industry, and agricultural/food industry.
    • If you don’t see your type of facility listed above, chances are we have experience in that industry. Contact us at the contact below to see if we can help.
    Why should I hire PLC to assess my facility for explosion protection?
    • PLC has over 40 years of technical expertise and industry experience advising on explosion safety measures at facilities throughout Canada and Internationally.
    • In addition, our team members participate on codes and standards committees for the National Building Code of Canada, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada.

    Download our Complete Services Guide

    Our Services Guide provides complete descriptions of all our fire and life safety services, a mapping of services to sectors, plus information about our:

    • Quality Management Program
    • Health and Safety Program
    • Corporate Security Program
    Download Guide
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