Food and beverage

Materials considered harmless such as grains, flour, tea and sugars can create potentially explosive atmospheres.

Food and beverage manufacture

Many potential explosive hazards exist in the supply chain for food and drink products, particularly wherever flammable liquids, gases and combustible powders or dust are present. 

Managers in large-scale manufacturing operations are likely to be already familiar with the explosive hazards and risks associated with their operations, but will need to ensure that employees also have the knowledge required to control and mitigate such risks, and to keep their facilities, themselves and others safe. CompEx certification and assessment can offer this assurance

In smaller, craft-based businesses, there may be less awareness about the risks from explosive atmospheres. For such small or medium sized enterprises, CompEx certification and assessment may be needed at all levels in the organisation.

Hidden risks

Managers who are responsible for manufacturing operations involving dust-producing ingredients such as grains, flour, tea and sugars, must fully understand the risks of a dust explosion. Accumulations of apparently harmless materials such as these can present a significant risk of a primary or secondary explosion if the workplace is not managed safely.

For liquids, the manufacturing of seemingly harmless products may involve the use of potentially explosive substances in the form of flammable liquids or combustible dusts that need to be managed and stored safely.


Distillery operations producing spirits such as whisky, gin and vodka involve the production of flammable liquids and vapours, requiring careful management to avoid potential sources of ignition.

In addition to the hazards of the process, many distilleries use grain neutral spirit (GNS) as a feedstock for distilling gin or vodka, or as a blending agent for whisky. Extreme care is required in the storage and use of GNS, as its chemical composition is effectively identical to the bio-component of pump-grade E5 gasoline/petrol.

After distillation, spirits that are matured in wooden casks will emit flammable vapour into the surrounding storage environment. This so-called ‘angel’s share’ presents a further hazard in storage warehousing if concentrations are allowed to approach the lower explosive limit of the vapour, which is the point at which it can ignite. This is particularly hazardous if sources of ignition are not adequately controlled.

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