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distance education

GEAPS 544: Preventing and Responding to Grain Dust Explosions

Next course offering: March 20-April 21, 2017

Registration is now closed.

Course Description: The most effective way to prevent grain dust explosions is to understand in detail what causes them, and then take sustained action to factor down the risks. This course will remind participants how disastrous grain dust explosions can be and then examine causes and preventive strategies and techniques. It will discuss what grain dust is and how it becomes combustible, how and why grain handling produces grain dust, what practices and techniques can be employed to reduce dust production, effective use of hazard-monitoring systems, major explosion risks within grain facilities, and the importance of preventive maintenance and housekeeping. The course will also examine how companies should be prepared to respond if an explosion occurs.

Course Goals: This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the causes of grain dust explosions, what measures should be taken to prevent them, and their potentially disastrous consequences. It will also provide insight about assessing the effectiveness of control measures, and how companies that experience an explosion should be prepared to respond.

Target Audience: GEAPS 544 is designed for grain facility safety managers, local and regional facility managers and superintendents, new grain industry employees, contractors and others with a need to know why explosions occur and how they can be prevented.


Brandi Miller, Distance Education Program Coordinator, Kansas State University | Show Bio

Douglas E. Forst, President, CMC Industrial Electronics | Show Bio

Dr. R.P. Kingsly Ambrose, Assistant Professor, Kansas State University Dept of Grain Science and Industry | Show Bio

Dr. Carlos Campabadal, Program Specialist and Instructor for Feed Mfg and Grain Storage, Coord for Spanish-Speaking Outreach Program, Kansas State University Dept of Grain Science and Industry | Show Bio

Chuck Kunisch, Facility Manager, Michigan Agricultural Commodities | Show Bio

Andy Heck, President, Edward J. Heck & Sons | Show Bio

The Course of Study

Week 1
Lecture 1 – Historical Grain Dust Explosions and the Inevitable Consequences
This lecture will discuss the potentially disastrous consequences of grain dust explosions, pointing out why it is imperative for companies to relentlessly try to prevent them. What are the risks faced by industry and workers? The lecture will also investigate serious grain dust explosions that have occurred in the past.
Lecturer: Brandi Miller

Lecture 2 – Combustible Dust
What is combustible dust? Lecture 2 will discuss the origins and types of grain dust, the causes of grain dust explosions, ignition sources for explosions, and explain what factors are needed in combination to produce a grain dust explosion.
Lecturer: Dr. R.P. Kingsly Ambrose

Week 2
Lecture 3 – Grain Handling and Dust
Lecture 3 will provide an overview of the properties of grain, how handling grain generates dust and why the dust is combustible. It will also discuss how some dust types are more combustible than other types, particle size and combustibility, and ignition sources from machinery, high-risk machinery, and other hazards such as welding, electrical, chemical, etc.
Lecturer: Dr. R.P. Kingsly Ambrose

Lecture 4 – Housekeeping as a Control Mechanism
This lecture will emphasize the importance of housekeeping to keep dust levels under control, identifying dust hazards, use of dust collection systems.
Lecturer: Dr. R.P. Kingsly Ambrose

Week 3
Lecture 5 – Grain Dust Regulations
Lecture 5 will discuss regulations intended to prevent grain dust explosions, focusing on their main underlying goals, and how some regulations are converging internationally. Checklist what are things they have to be careful of regarding regulations and how it relates.
Lecturer: Dr. Carlos Campabadal

Lecture 6 – Preventive Maintenance
This lecture will cover how hazards-monitoring systems and engineering controls should be utilized to prevent explosions, and preventive maintenance of machinery components. Preventive maintenance.
Lecturer: Doug Forst

Week 4
Lecture 7 – Practices and Techniques to Avoid Creation of Dust
Lecture 7 will examine how grain handling practices and techniques can be implemented to avoid creating dust. Techniques include avoiding turbulence at transfer points through the design and sizing of pipes and sheets, using appropriate equipment for conveying and handling, and avoiding overload. Unloading systems (reducing free fall), appropriate buckets in elevators, equipment (cyclones, bag houses) and physical methods of control (oil) will also be discussed.
Lecturer: Andy Heck

Lecture 8 – Preventing Dust via Facility and Equipment Design
Lecture 8 will investigate how facility and equipment systems design can help limit grain dust, and mitigate explosion effects. The lecture will also cover design aspects (pressure regulation in dust collection equipment and maintenance), updates in bucket elevators (parts and location), explosion panels and venting (appropriate places to install panels/venting based on the need), and updates in handling systems that eliminates sparking/static charge build-up.
Lecturer: Dr. Carlos Campabadal

Week 5
Lecture 9 – Preventive Training
Lecture 9 will discuss the importance of training employees, contractors and others on site about the risks of explosions and what policies are in place to prevent them. Students will learn how to create an effective emergency evacuation plan, including identifying escape routes and accounting for employees after an evacuation. The value of a good training plan will also be covered, with an emphasis on maintaining signed training documentation for all employees.
Lecturer: Brandi Miller

Lecture 10 – There's Been an Explosion. What Now?
Lecture 10 will discuss how companies will need to respond immediately after an explosion and deal with media access, emergency responders, personnel and families, insurance and other issues. What is the emergency action plan?
Lecturer: Chuck Kunisch