A workplace should be a place of safety but sometimes there is a build-up of gases or dust and both these substances can become highly flammable. That in itself will not cause an explosion but should the gas or dust mix with air and be ignited, then serious injury, death and destruction can occur.
The employer has a definite obligation to prevent any build-up of gases, mists, vapours or dust and a further obligation to prevent sparks or other sources of ignition to be let loose in such a dangerous situation.
Typical workplaces where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur are locations using spray-painting devices on motor vehicles or in silos and other places where grain is poured and stored. Fumes and dust can easily be created and when mixed with air and ignited, an explosion will almost certainly occur.
Governments issue regulations regarding the safety of workplaces. Employers must designate areas or zones within their operation listing them as potential areas of explosive atmosphere. Equipment which could produce a spark or other form of igniting the gas or dust is strictly controlled within each zone.
Employees working in such dangerous zones must be provided with protective clothing including such things as non-static footwear. Every care and precaution must be taken when working in areas likely to produce an explosive explosion.