Emptying Big-Bags (FIBC)

Posted in: , on 9. Jul. 2009 - 12:59

Regular operator safety training is an important management duty

Emptying Big-Bags (FIBC)

Type of dust

Plastic additive

Description of the plant and process

•The product was supplied in a conductive Big-Bag (FIBC type C).

•The Big-Bag (1) had conductive lifting handles (2) and was also fitted with earthing points (3) on the side.

•The lifting hooks (4) were made of metal and connected with a plastic cable (5) to the crane.

•A filling funnel (6) with sealing system (7) was used to empty the Big-Bag into the silo (8).

Course of the incident

•Dust leaked out of the improperly fitted sealing system (7) during the emptying of the Big-Bag forming a large dust cloud in the filling area.

•In order to solve the problem the operator called two further

colleagues for help.

•Shortly afterwards a dust explosion occurred in the vicinity of the filling funnel (6) and also in the Big-Bag (1).


Due to the problem with the sealing system (7) and the formation of a large dust cloud three opera¬tors were exposed to a much greater hazard than would normally be present.

•The three operators suffered severe burns.

•Following litigation the firm had to pay tens of million Euro in

damages to the workers.


•The Big-Bag was not earthed (9) and became charged due to the emptying operation.

A spark discharge occurred from the Big-Bag (1) to the earthed metal filling funnel (6) which ignited the dust cloud formed by the leaking seal and also the dust cloud in the Big-Bag (1).


•The Big-Bag (1) must be earthed and monitored (9) before emptying starts.

•The sealing system should be improved to prevent the formation of a dust cloud in the filling area. Operators must be trained so that they are aware of the ignition hazards which arise from electrostatic charging.

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kersting-1 (JPG)

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