Combustible dust — how to reduce it, control it, mitigate the potential risks it poses, and comply with regulations regarding it — is a critical issue for industries, including: agriculture, chemicals, food, plastics, wood, paper, pulp, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and metal processing.
A google search of materials with “Combustible Dust” in the title generates 930,000 results. Clearly, there is a lot information out there. In this post, we wanted to highlight a much smaller list of useful resources for businesses. We’ve categorized the resources so that your business can find what it needs more quickly.
The Science Behind Combustible Dust and Combustible Dust Explosions
It helps to understand how combustible dust can become a serious health and safety hazard for your business. Research has shown, for example, that when managers and employees understand why safety procedures are necessary, they are more likely to adhere to them and are more likely to spot potential hazards before they become dangerous.
One good resource is Chris Cloney’s website, myDustExplosionResearch.com. Chris researches flame propagation in combustible dust. His website provides a clearinghouse of easy-to-understand, factual information.
Check out, for example, this article on the anatomy of a combustible dust explosion for a thorough explanation of how and why dust explosions can occur. He also documents combustible dust incidents which are often difficult to track or further investigate.
Regulations and Standards
The regulatory aspect of combustible dust is a complex topic. Businesses with specific concerns should seek expert help on how these regulations may affect them. However, there are some excellent online resources that can help you determine whether your business is impacted by OSHA and NFPA, and help you select the right partner for your dust collection needs.
OSHA’s website, “Combustible Dust: An Explosion Hazard”, provides important resources: an overview of OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP); a sample employee safety training plan, and guidance for businesses on how to mitigate the risks of combustible dust.
NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
Most US local regulatory agencies look to the NFPA for standards related to combustible dust. If you have a facility in the US, it likely is affected by NFPA standards. NFPA 652, “Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust” requires dust hazards analyses (DHAs) be completed in certain business facilities across many different types of industries. DHA’s need to be completed by September 7th, 2020. These do not happen overnight – you may want to begin reasearching today what needs to take place to have one completed for your organization.
US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB)
The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency that investigates the root causes of major chemical incidents. They believe that a general industry standard should be created to prevent future combustible dust tragedies. Their website has a wealth of information on significant US based combustible dust related incidents as well as good overview information on combustible dust hazards. Check out some of the safety information here.
For a detailed and vendor neutral overview of combustible dust standards, read this article from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
DualDraw: Experts in Dust Collection System Design and Implementation.
DualDraw has a full line of downdraft booths and dust collection equipment designed specifically for the capture of combustible dust and has helped thousands of customers handle their combustible dust safety issues. Our in-house experts understand 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 or visit us at www.DualDraw.com.
DualDraw has extensive experience helping hundreds of customers implement combustible dust management solutions. Our company blog has several good articles on the topic, including various industrial equipment and safety blog posts. Please review and let us know what you think!