The cosmetics industry uses flammable and combustible liquids to manufacture perfumes, scents, deodorants, laundry products, air fresheners, and other fragranced consumer products. Unfortunately, these flammable materials can lead to some of the most disastrous plant explosions with massive consequences.
Undoubtedly, there exists an inherent danger in any work environment involving flammable liquids and gases, and players in the cosmetics industry need to implement robust safety precautions to minimize these risks.
The following are some of the notable incidences of cosmetics industry explosions that resulted in massive injuries, damage, and even death.
Verla International ltd explosion: In November 2017, an explosion ripped through the Verla international ltd cosmetics factory in New Windsor, New York, injuring over 30 workers and killing one. A second explosion occurred, injuring several firefighters, with two of them having to transfer to the burn unit. Investigators established that flammable and combustible chemicals used to manufacture perfume, lotion, polish, and other beauty products fueled the fire. The cause was static electricity generated when a worker was wiping a tank full of flammable liquids.
Namdong Industrial Complex explosion: On November 19, 2020, a fire at a cosmetics factory in South Korea killed three people and injured six others. The explosion that happened in the afternoon caused a dark cloud of hazardous smoke to spread over the neighborhood. Investigators couldn't immediately establish the cause of the fire. However, preliminary reports pointed to a leaking tank full of flammable liquids as the possible culprit.
As mentioned earlier, the cosmetics industry uses several flammable and combustible liquids to make products. Flammable liquids refer to materials that can ignite and burn quickly at normal working temperatures. This means when the liquids are subjected to temperatures above working temperatures, the risks of a severe explosion increase substantially. These liquids generally burn very fast while giving off a lot of heat and clouds of thick, black toxic smoke that aggravates injuries. Some of the risk factors for explosion hazards in the cosmetics industry include:
Most flammable and combustible liquids used in the cosmetics industry flow easily. A small spill from a leak in a tank or pipe can quickly cover a large floor area. This can spread fire quickly in case of ignition. Even after someone cleans up the spill, hazardous amounts of liquid could still hang in the air as dangerous vapor.
Ignoring specific safety measures or being careless with flammable liquids is also a leading risk factor for fire in cosmetics manufacturing environments. For example, a worker who uses the wrong tools to clean flammable liquid tanks can expose the entire factory to fire hazards.
Electricity is a crucial component of any work environment. However, faulty connections and unexpected power surges can provide ignition sources for devastating explosions.
The following are some measures that can help eliminate risks of explosion in the cosmetics industry:
A critical component of prevention is mastering the safety information of each flammable liquid in your plant. Research this information on the material safety data sheet that accompanies each product. Ensure you train your staff to follow OSHA-provided safety measures.
Store all materials as per OSHA-compliant procedures. Using suitable tanks to store flammable and combustible liquids is a way to reduce the risks of hazards substantially. For example, keeping the liquids in closed containers ensures neither the liquid nor vapor can escape at ordinary temperatures.
Flammable liquids can't catch fire where there is no source of ignition. Identify and control ignition sources in the work area to avoid serious incidences, including fire and explosion. Possible ignition sources include matches, cigarettes, static electricity, hand tools and machinery, and specific processes that could generate heat. You can control ignition sources by choosing the ideal location to store flammable liquids and training your employees so they understand the flashpoint of each chemical they're using.
You can reduce the risks of leaks through adequate maintenance practices on your equipment and storage tanks. Leverage intelligent tools to monitor your environment and proactively carry out repairs in your tanks and the entire system before they become sources of hazards.
You can also leverage modern digital solutions to control and manage risks in your operating environment. Digitization tools designed for hazardous environments integrate top-notch technologies, such as machine learning, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, advanced sensors, and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) to detect, measure, and control flammable liquid and gas leaks. By adding IoT devices to traditional infrastructures, such as hydrants and valves, you can monitor and detect leaks every minute of every day.
Aegex offers top-notch digitization tools designed to help companies with hazardous environments detect and monitor their environments for various hazards, including leaks, system outages, and equipment breakdowns. Our NexVu IoT solution features intelligent sensors, smart cameras, endpoints, and radios to provide accurate measurements for the presence of hazardous liquids and gases in your work environment.
You can also use Aegex10 intrinsically safe tablet to gain real-time data on the status of your systems and machinery for proactive repairs and maintenance. The tablet boasts a fully integrated Windows 10 platform and data-driven predictive maintenance technologies that give real-time data for better decision-making. Contact us today to learn more about our digitization tools for hazardous gas and liquid detection and monitoring.