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Hot Material Fall on Workers in a Maize Plant

Description of the factory:
This Chemical factory producing Starch, Glucose and Gluten (animal food) from Corn.

Date and Time of the incident: 10-11-2003 at 6-30 a.m.

Incident:
Two workers were burnt in the gluten section due to falling of burning material in the work room (gluten department). Workers were sent for treatment, died during treatment on the same day and other was relieved after treatment.

Process:
• After separating seeds and fiber during wet milling process,   Starch and Gluten remain in the stream
• Starch and Gluten are separated in the centrifuge machine
• Gluten is made thick in the thickener machine
• Cakes are made in the plate filter machine
• Filtrate is recycled in the process
• Gluten Cakes are sent to dryer machine for drying
• Dried gluten is conveyed numerically to sieve, in the shifter room, in the nearby room which is separated by a wall of 20” thick, dust collectors are also provided in this room (packing room)

Dryer:
Dryer machine is from ‘Bunter Company’ and it is a flash dryer.
It consists, peddler mixture (to breaks lumps of gluten), feed screw, sling fan, I. D. fan, cyclones, rotary air lock and settler.
Hot air to dry the gluten is received from furnace using bio-gas from E. T. P. Plant

Process in the dryer:

• Gluten cakes from filter, contents 55% moisture, fed to peddler mixture by belt conveyer, and then it is fed to the center of sling fan by screw conveyer fitted below peddler mixture. Sling fan is fitted on the hot air ducting.
• Hot air is received from furnace by burning bio-methane gas; temperature of hot air is maintained 310 to 320 c.temperatures is controlled automatically.
• Negative pressure of 70 to 80 column of water is maintained with the help of I. D. Fan in the dryer, so the moist gluten is conveyed pneumatically up ward and loose its wetness due to contact of hot air in the dryer and gluten having 10-11 % moisture is manufactured.
• Temperature of air going from settler is 80 to 85O c in the dryer or settler.
• Dried material is collected from rotary air lock below the cyclone.
• Rupture disk is fitted on top of the cyclone with hinge, it opens if negative pressure is reduced in the cyclone, and negative pressure is maintained by I. D. fan.

Start up procedure
• I. D. fan is started before gluten dryer is started and sling fan is also started after it.
• Semi-moist material is fed in the sling fan and material flow is ensured by taking material in the feeder again and then after only bio-gas in the furnace is made on and fired.
• Slowly fresh moist material is fed and dryer is made working.

Shut down procedure

• First of all gas firing is stopped and bio-gas in let valve is closed
• Chemist of bio-gas plant is informed to stop supply of bio-gas and chemist of bio-gas plant will flare the gas
• After gas supply is stopped, operator of dryer will try to cool down the dryer and he will continue the working of both the fan i.e. I.D. Fan and sling fan
• Operator will take fresh moist gluten and recycle it till the dryer is cooled
• Sling fan is stopped now and I.D. Fan is kept on and continued till the temperature of the dryer is come down to atmospheric temperature
• I. D. fan can be stopped now.

Cause of the incident:
On the day of incident operator have told to stop the supply of bio-gas and must have stopped the I. D. fan before reaching the temperature of dryer at atmospheric temperature and negative pressure of the dryer must have reached some higher side and due to positive pressure the rupture disc, which is working as safety ventilation system must have opened and burning material from this opening came out and fall on the operator and other workman passing from there and both were seriously injured. Because of serious burnt injury operator died on 10-11-2003 and worker was relived after treatment.

Action taken:

As per provision of 5(e) of Rule 68(G) of Gujarat Factories Rule 1963 under F.A. Act 1948, safety ventilation of every dryer shall be such that-
“Exhaust ducts of safety ventilation systems should be so designed and placed that their ducts discharge (the mixture of air and flammable substance) away from the workrooms and not near windows or doors or other opening from where the mixture could re-enter the workrooms”;

Rupture disk of the cyclone, which is working as safety ventilation for dryer was not designed to discharge material away from the workroom, and material fell in the workroom.

So prosecution is launched against the manager for contravention of the above provision i.e. 5(e) of Rule 68(G) of Gujarat Factories Rule 1963.


 

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