Fatal Dust Explosion in Palotina (PR)

Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment auditors have concluded that excessive grain dust in suspension caused an explosion, resulting in the tragic death of 10 individuals and injuring 10 others at the C.Vale Cooperative in Palotina, Paraná. The audit team identified multiple safety violations, including inadequate training for confined space work, extended work hours, improper protective gear, and non-compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.

The explosion, which occurred on July 26, 2023, in a tunnel used for transporting grains, was attributed to the presence of combustible dust, oxygen, and an ignition source such as faulty electrical installations or friction-induced heat. The auditors issued 26 violation notices, currently under appeal by the company.

The investigation revealed various irregularities, including casual workers lacking proper training and supervision, overworking, insufficient protective clothing, entry into active tunnels without system shutdowns, misaligned and unmonitored conveyor belt systems, pressure due to high-demand seasons, and non-compliance with safety regulations.

The five auditors highlighted the company’s inadequate management of confined spaces, ineffective dust control measures, and a lack of procedures for cleaning accumulated dust in the tunnels. The tragic incident claimed the lives of eight Haitian and two Brazilian workers, with an additional 10 individuals sustaining injuries.

This report underscores the critical need for enhanced workplace safety measures and regulatory compliance to prevent such incidents, emphasizing the importance of proper training, equipment, and risk management in industrial environments. The Ministry’s findings are expected to prompt corrective actions and increased vigilance in ensuring the well-being of workers across Brazil.