PRELIMINARY findings indicate that a dust explosion from within the confined flour bin ignited the fire that broke out at the Lesotho Flour Mills (LeFM) where three staff members were injured last month.
Sept. 8, 2022
2 min read
No negligence caused Flour Mills fire-CEO
Lesotho Flour Mills CEO, Joao Goncalves
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According to a press statement released by the country’s miller on Tuesday, while the incident is still under investigation, there was no negligence that led to the incident.
The company says when the flour bin exploded, that triggered the release of the pressure-relief panel of the bin, and the flames moved into the outer environment, triggering a secondary explosion which caused the fire to spread.
“Emergency protocols were immediately implemented and the rapid response from staff to evacuate the affected area and to move to previously demarcated areas of safety, along with the fire departments quick response to the call, meant the fire was rapidly extinguished.
“It was also noted that due to the regular stock-take, cleaning and fumigation, which had recently taken place, there was minimal fuel available and the explosions and subsequent fire could be contained” the statement said.
The statement further showed that with the internal investigation concluded and no threat of a flare up, and with the damage to equipment and property being minimal, the flour mill was able to resume production last week Thursday.
About the three staffers who were injured in the fire, the company further said: “They received immediate treatment by the company’s qualified onsite nurse and first aider, before being transported to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment.
“However, the company is reviewing its safety protocols in a continuous effort to keep all LeFM staff members safe.
For his part, LeFM Chief Executive Officer, Joao Goncalves said: “Currently, two of the three injured staff members have been discharged from hospital with minor to moderate injuries and are recovering at home.
“The third injured staff member was transferred back to the local Willies Hospital this week, after receiving additional treatment at the Mediclinic burn unit in Bloemfontein. His condition will continue to be monitored closely.
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“All three staff members will receive individual counselling to overcome any residual trauma they may have experienced. Employees in the affected areas will receive group counselling.”
He added: “Again, we want to commend the staff and the emergency team for responding quickly to the protocols that were immediately triggered when the incident occurred.
“Our number one concern has been that the three staff members who were hurt receive the best medical care, and that all our staff be kept in the loop and could return to work feeling safe.”
The company statement concluded: “Customers impacted by the temporary delay in production have been contacted and their orders will be issued as a first priority.”