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Number of grain dust explosions in US falls to 10-year low

22 February 2017

According to a report released by Purdue University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, the number of grain dust explosions in the United States fell to a 10-year low in 2016 despite a number of fatalities last year.

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Two of the three fatalities from grain dust explosions in 2016 were in Indiana, and the third was in Georgia. Eight people were injured nationwide. These were the first such fatalities recorded in the US since 2013.

There were five grain dust explosions in 2016, compared to eight in 2015 and a 10-year average of 9.2 per year. Reported causes of ignition last year included sparks, possibly generated by static electricity or friction between machine parts, and overheated bearings, such as those on conveyor belts and elevators. One of the explosions occurred in a feed mill, two in grain mills and two in grain elevators.

Grain dust was confirmed as the main source of fuel in three of the incidents, but could not be confirmed in two of the others.

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