NFPA Report on Oven, Furnace, and Dryer Explosions

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released a report that looks at oven, furnace, and dryer explosions in recent years.

The purpose of this project, which is documented in this report, was to gather information regarding explosion incidents in which an oven, furnace, or dryer was involved. This information was then sorted and a basic analysis was conducted in order to provide useful information to the Technical Committee on Ovens and Furnaces.

NFPA 86, Standard for Ovens and Furnaces, provides standardized methods to minimize fire and explosion hazards of ovens and furnaces used for commercial and industrial processing of materials, and it includes requirements for proper explosion ventilation methods for new ovens and furnaces.

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission.

As it set out to review the NFPA 86 explosion ventilation requirements for the next revision cycle, the Technical Committee on Ovens and Furnaces sought information on real-world incidents where NFPA 86 ventilation requirements would be involved and gathered information about explosion incidents in which an oven, furnace, or dryer was involved.

Explosions in restaurant ovens, curing ovens, a lead smelting furnace, electric arc furnaces, clothes dryers, grain dryers, a coal dryer, and a grain dryer are included in the document. More incidents involving furnaces and ovens are included in it than dryer incidents.

Survey respondents listed human error as the cause of the explosion more than any other cause. Failure of a safeguard, a safeguard not installed, unforeseen hazard, poor process design, and all of the above were other causes listed.

Proper explosion relief design and installation are essential to ensure the safe operation of industrial appliances like ovens, furnaces, and dryers, according to NFPA.