One man was killed and another seriously injured in a dust explosion in a particleboard manufacturing facility. In the manufacturing process, wood and flax shives are mixed with a resin, then pressed 210 °C. The heating medium (mineral oil) is heated to 250 °C and distributed via a system inside various platforms. The upper platform is equipped with 3 heating plates designed to ensure better heat distribution on the structure and brought to a temperature of 140 to 210 °C. The workshop is sprayed down except for the top of the press, which is too hot to allow the heads to be installed. Around 5.30 am, the crew in the workshop smelled the outbreak of a fire in the upper part of the press. After an initial search, an electrician and the shop supervisor tired to extinguish the fire with fire extinguisher (50 kg of multipurpose powder). An explosion then killed the first and seriously burned the second. The sprinklers were able to extinguish the supervisor’s burning clothes and immediately confine the fire. According to the Classified Installations Inspectorate, the accumulation of wood dust on an excessively hot plate could have initiated the fire, which could have ignited the cloud of dust blown by the extinguisher, thus resulting in its explosion. Two outbreaks of fire had already been reported at the installation due to plate temperature control errors; the incandescent part was thus gathered using a scraper or a brush. The press shop had no written instructions as to the procedures to be followed in case of fire, no written instructions regarding how often the press was to be cleaned and the procedure involved, even though the workshops produce a great deal of dust. The Classified Installations Inspectorate proposed an emergency order making the restart of the press shop subject to the implementation of appropriate corrective measures. The operator implemented the following measures: monitoring of press temperatures, cleaning procedures and a dusting plan, instructions in case of malfunction, thermal insulation at the top of the press, a fixed extinguishing system, a water fog extinguishing installation (to avoid blowing dusts), the drawing up of routine fire procedures and personnel training.

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