Documentation of dust explosions

Project No. BIA 3036


completed 01/1996


Dust explosions continue to represent a danger that must be seriously addressed, as is verified by accident reports from the practice. Reasons for the occurrence of dust explosions are the lack of understanding and knowledge of the problem on the part of those operating potentially explosion-prone plants. The documentation is mainly aimed to sensitise and inform and to identify main causes of explosion.


For over 25 years reports of dust explosions have been gathered together by the BIA and assessed in terms of the different factors involved in the accidents: types of dusts, concerned plants and potential ignition sources.


599 dust explosions have so far been documented and analysed, i.e. approximately ten percent of the accidents that actually happened in the period of observation in Germany. A proof that the results can be considered representative is that there is little variation of the proportions of the concerned plants and ignition sources. While the accident descriptions are especially useful to sensitise those affected by the problem, the statistical appraisals help identify particularly explosion-prone plants. It can be observed that dedusting plants play an increasingly important role in dust explosions. This is mainly due to the fact that requirements in terms of air quality - whether recycled and reintroduced into the working room or emitted into the environment - are continuously growing. These circumstances necessarily lead to the use of additional and more sophisticated dust separators. The findings are a valuable help towards assessing the explosion risks.

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Last Update:



Financed by:
Research institution(s):
  • BIA

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

mechanical hazards


Brand- und Explosionsschutz, Unfallverhütung, Gefährdungsbeurteilung

Description, key words:

accidents, explosion-prone plants, dust types, ignition sources, causes