An aluminum dust explosion and fire on October 29, 2003 at the Hayes Lemmerz International Huntington, Inc. (Hayes) facility, Huntington, Indiana killed one employee and burned two other employees, one critically. Three other Hayes employees and one contractor received minor injuries.
The facility manufactures cast aluminum alloy wheels. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) determined that the dust that exploded originated in a scrap re-melting system. The explosion completely destroyed the dust collection equipment outside the building and damaged equipment inside the building. The explosion also lifted a portion of the building roof above one furnace and ignited a fire that burned for several hours.
• ALUMINUM DUST HAZARD AWARENESS
• DUST COLLECTOR EXPLOSION PROTECTION
• INCIDENT INVESTIGATION
• MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE
1. Did not perform a review to address why the chip system was releasing excess dust. The hazards of aluminum dust were neither identified nor addressed.
2. Did not ensure the proper design of the dust collector system.
3. Did not ensure that the dust collector design and installation followed the guidance in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 651.
4. Had no formal, documented program to investigate and implement corrective action for incidents involving fires in the foundry area, especially those fueled by aluminum dust.
Image Credit: CSB