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B.C. bakery explosion results in new hazard alert

Vancouver, BC -- A new Hazard Alert from WorkSafeBC reports that in a British Columbia bakery, an explosion occurre...


Vancouver, BC — A new Hazard Alert from WorkSafeBC reports that in a British Columbia bakery, an explosion occurred while cakes were baking in an industrial, gas-fired rack oven. The oven door, which weighed about 200 pounds, was blown off the oven, causing significant damage. Several workers suffered ringing in their ears and other minor injuries. The incident could have seriously injured or killed someone.

BC Safety Authority investigated the incident, and found that the draft control had not been properly set up. Furthermore, the oven had not been adequately maintained and serviced, and its burner mountings, heat exchanger and other components had overheated, cracked and deteriorated. This caused unburned gases to be sucked into the baking chamber, causing the explosion.

To prevent a gas explosion from an industrial oven, bakery employers should obtain relevant information on inspections, service and safety, from the manufacturer. Gas-fired ovens should be inspected and serviced at least every six months. The draft of a rack oven must be set up in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. Only a qualified person, such as a certified gas fitter working for a licensed gas contractor, should conduct the inspections and servicing.

Licensed gas contractors must ensure that rack ovens are set up according to the manufacturer’s draft requirements and take into account ambient pressures that may affect draft. Follow the manufacturer’s checklist for inspection and maintenance.

WorkSafeBC offers a wide range of health and safety information. For assistance and information on workplace health and safety, the organization can be reached toll-free within B.C. 1-888-621-7233, or visit www.WorkSafeBC.com.