We’ve all seen our fair share of cinematic explosions used for action or drama in numerous forms of media. However, if you were to follow how they were handled or dealt with in real life, chances are you’re going to wound up dead or with a serious injury. Explosive materials are reactive substances that contain a great amount of potential energy that can produce an explosion if suddenly released. Explosions can produce a combination of light, head, sound, and pressure, all of which can be harmful to those around.
The potential energy involved in an explosive material can be stored in a number of ways, including:
- Nuclear energy: fissile isotopes such as uranium-235 and plutonium-239
- Pressurized gas: gas cylinders or aerosol cans
- Chemical energy: nitroglycerin or grain dust
There is a wide variety of chemicals that can explode, although only a small number of them are manufactured with the intent or purpose of being used as an explosive. Chances are, your workplace contains chemicals that can cause an explosion under the right wrong circumstances. Some common explosive chemicals include: diesel, gasoline, alcohol, paint thinner, varnish, nail polish remover, peroxide, ammonium, furniture polish, and window or toilet cleaners.
- No smoking or eating anywhere near where explosives are handled, used, or stored.
- Work with explosives should not be conducted during extreme weather, such as thunderstorms.
- It is extremely important to have good housekeeping practices in all areas where explosives are stored, used, or handled.
- Store explosives in closed containers when they’re not in use. All containers must be labeled to identify their contents.
- A competent person must be responsible for the use and the safety of explosives, and all materials must be locked up in a secure location when not in use.
- Do not mix products unless they are intended to do so.
- Keep all potentially explosive products away from heat.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Wear safety glasses at all time when working with or in proximity to explosives.
- Silk, synthetic, or wool outer/under garments should not be worn in any activity where the generation of static electricity can create a hazard. Cotton is preferred.
- When working with primary explosives, flame-retardant coveralls should be worn at all times.