MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — In order to increase safety awareness at grain elevators, feed mills and other grain processing facilities, Kansas State University’s Department of Grain Science and Industry is offering workshops in English and Spanish to address combustible dust hazards.

Project leader Kingsly Ambrose, assistant professor in Grain Science and Industry, said the interactive workshops will create awareness regarding grain dust explosion hazards among workers and supervisors. The workshops, handouts and lecture materials are free. 

Workshops will be held at the following Kansas locations in conjunction with the Kansas Grain and Feed Association:

• Aug. 13 in Garden City at the Southwest Research-Extension Office. The course in English will be offered from 8 a.m. to noon and the Spanish course will be offered from 1-5 p.m.
• Aug. 14 in Colby at the Colby Convention Center from 8 a.m. to noon.
• Aug. 16 in Wichita at the Sedgwick County Extension Office from 1-5 p.m.
• Aug. 19 in Salina at the Salina Courtyard Marriott from 1-5 p.m.
• Aug. 20 in Seneca at the Nemaha County Community Building from 1-5 p.m.

The workshop will be offered in Texas, Nebraska and Minnesota on the following dates: 

• July 23 in Mesquite, Texas at the Texas A&M Mesquite Auditorium. The course in English will be offered from 8 a.m. to noon and the Spanish course will be offered from 1-5 p.m.
• July 30, in conjunction with the National Grain and Feed Association, in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Omaha Hilton from 1-5 p.m.
• Sept. 6, in conjunction with the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association, in St. Cloud, Minnesota, at the Kelly Inn Best Western from 1-5 p.m.

“It is important to educate supervisors and managers on training their employees using best practices to curtail the risk of dust explosions,” said Dirk Maier, head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at KSU. “This workshop will communicate practical risk information on dust hazards to mitigate fatalities and loss in grain handling and processing facilities.”

This initiative is being funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Ambrose noted that grain dust explosions are caused by five factors: powder-fine grain dust, confinement of dust in an enclosed space, dust dispersion, an ignition source, and oxygen. Reducing combustible dust, keeping it out of the air and controlling ignition sources significantly reduce the probability of a grain dust explosion occurring. 

Through delivery by faculty from KSU, hands-on activities and an explosion demonstration, the four-hour workshop will provide the awareness, understanding and motivation to reduce the number of explosions and their impact. 

“The long term goal of this team is to continue this effort of raising awareness about grain dust explosion hazards through training activities,” Ambrose said. “We are collaborating with GEAPS (Grain Elevator and Processing Society) to offer a distance education course on grain dust explosions starting Fall 2013.”

To register for any of the workshops, go to and select the link under ‘Upcoming Short Courses.’

For more information, interested persons may also contact Ambrose at [email protected], or 1.785.532.4091.