Living in (not so) blissful ignorance can be a life changer

Living in (not so) blissful ignorance can be a life changer

EEUK’s Principal Process Safety Consultant, Dilip Arulappan, tells us a story that will make you realise how important DSEAR Awareness training is.

The story I’m about to tell is unfortunately true and was investigated first-hand by one of the best explosion consultants in the UK today. More on him further down the line…

For now, allow me to elaborate on the serious life changing events for the unintentional ignorant operator. As I refer to ignorance, I refer not to the meaning of being discourteous, rather lack of required awareness.

A day no different than any other it seemed. The operator, as he had done for many days over the years, had loaded a few bags of powder into the chute.

The operator had the task of intermittently adding fine powder from a sack into a conical screw mixer. All the plant parts were suitably earthed, the operator was wearing anti- static dissipative shoes.

What could go wrong?

Suddenly and out of nowhere came the huge bang!

An explosion of significant proportion occurred at the charge station which left the operator with severe burns to his face and upper body. A life changing moment.

What had happened?

The bags had been shrink wrapped onto pallets and this shrink wrapping needed to be removed.

The investigation revealed that the operator removed the shrink wrapping in such a way that it ended up on the floor by the charge hatch. The operator then stood on the shrink wrap while pouring the sack contents into the mixer.

The wrap would have provided an insulating barrier to the flow of static electricity from the operator’s body to ground.

Quite simply the powder was charged, and it caused a flash fire that had serious effects on an individual that had absolutely no idea of the hazards around him.

A flammable atmosphere was created due to a lack of Local Dust extraction at the tipping station.

An ignition source was then created due to a lack of DSEAR awareness on how to prevent such a source around the work area.

Operators add varying quantities of powders to process vessels and tipping stations in many ways in thousands of tasks across the UK every single day. Pouring from bags or drums, scooping and tipping.

Plastic drums, fibreboard drums, metal drums. Plastic liners and bags, paper bags and hybrid bags.

You get the point.

All are commonplace materials in process industries, such as chemicals, food, and beverage, pharmaceutical, flavour and fragrance, plastics and resins and many more.

Question: How do you avoid such rare and accidental occurrences?

Answer: DSEAR Awareness Training

We EEUK provide bespoke site specific DSEAR Awareness training. It could really save lives.

Contact us at and 0845 077 7761 to understand Basis of Safety of your process and site operations.