Implementing Combustible Dust Safety
Customers often ask: “I think my business needs to do something about combustible dust. Where do I begin?”
That is a good sign. It means a company is being proactive. Instead of waiting for an OSHA inspection, they want to take concrete steps to reduce the risks associated with combustible dust. While it can seem complicated, the good news is that dust risk management has become more sophisticated and fact based. Let’s take a deeper look at the implementation steps once a company decides to take action for combustible dust safety in the workplace.
Once a business determines it could be affected, the next step is often to test materials. One example is a “Go / No Go” explosibility test. There are different ways to conduct it, but at a high level, this test determines whether a sample powder or dust will explode when exposed to an ignition source in a testing apparatus. Results are either Type Go — explosible — or Type No Go — non-explosible. As part of this testing, It is very important to have a good sampling plan. Businesses need to make sure materials being tested are representative of its operations and from locations that could be areas of risk.
“Combustible dust is a potential hazard in agriculture, chemicals, food, grain, fertilizer, tobacco, plastics, wood, forest, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, tire and rubber manufacturing, dyes, coal, metal processing, recycling operations, power generation and other industries.”
Dust Hazards Analysis (DHA)
Once testing is done, often the next step is a Dust Hazard Analysis or DHA. NFPA 652 sets out which types of industries should conduct a Dust Hazard Analysis and what a DHA entails. Often this includes a plant visit, interviews with operational staff and review of a facility’s piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) to understand its processes in detail.
There are OSHA regulations that require employees to be trained regarding dust hazards. These include proper labeling of hazardous chemical containers, the collection and use of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), and employee training. Workers – including contractors – need to be informed that combustible dust is present and instructed how to prevent fires and dust explosions. Industrial safety training should include how to recognize and prevent the hazards of the dusts in the facility, recognize unsafe conditions, and take preventative action and alert management.
These steps are often the beginning of the safety process. When businesses are ready to implement technology to address their dust hazards, they often consult DualDraw. DualDraw has provided thousands of customers with high-quality dust collection, air filtration and fume ventilation solutions, so we understand that each business has different requirements based on their operations. We are always happy to share ideas and resources with to help make your business safer, so please contact us about our air filtration dust collection equipment today.
DualDraw: Experts in Dust Collection System Design and Implementation.
DualDraw has a full line of dust collection equipment designed specifically for the capture of combustible dust and has helped thousands of customers handle their combustible dust issues. Our in-house experts follow the standards released from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and OSHA, and can guide customers to a solution to safely and cost-effectively address their specific application. Contact our team today to learn how we can help your business implement industrial dust safety in the workplace, or visit us at www.dualdraw.com.
1. United States. Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Admin. OSHA 3371-08 2009. Hazard Communication Guidance for Combustible Dust. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2009.
2. Geddie, J. Edgar. A Guide to Combustible Dusts. Raleigh, NC: N.C. Dept. of Labor, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, 2009.
3. Ursula Malczewski, Fauske & Associates, 2017 (www.fauske.com/blog/add-value-and-reduce-risk-for-combustible-dust-hazards)