- Typical Client Results
- About WPS
“I learned a great deal that I will be able to apply... Thanks for a very informative, effective training session (30-Hour Complying with OSHA).”
Join our Mailing List:
Things that go boom – combustible dust hazards
By W. Jon Wallace, CSP, MBA
According to OSHA, since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions. Recent incidents have significantly heightened awareness of combustible dust hazards:
Combustible Dust Fundamentals
Elements needed for dust explosion:
Additional Elements Required:
OSHA and combustible dust
Due to the large number of combustible dust explosions previously discussed, OSHA has implemented a national emphasis program on combustible dust: CPL 03-00-008. In addition, on October 21, 2009 federal OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) as a preliminary step in the development of a combustible dust standard. Several of my clients have recently been contacted by OSHA concerning combustible dust safety.
Performing the combustible dust assessment
The first step in determining if a combustible dust hazard may exist at your facility is to perform a combustible dust assessment of your facility. Are combustibles dusts present at your facility? Is your industry normally associated as a combustible dust hazard?
What is a combustible dust?
NFPA 654 (2013 Edition): "Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids" defines a combustible dust as follows: "A finely divided combustible particulate solid that presents a flash fire hazard or explosion hazard when suspended in air or the process-specific oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations." In addition, a combustible particulate solid is defined as: "Any solid material composed of distinct particles or pieces, regardless of size, shape, or chemical composition that presents a fire hazard."
Typical dusts of concern
Typical industries handling combustible dust
Safe Work Practices
If you handle combustible dusts you need to ensure safe work practices are utilized to minimize the potential for an explosion:
Listed below are OSHA and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and codes addressing combustible dust safety.
From an employee as well as facility standpoint, combustible dusts pose a serious safety risk for many companies. Make sure you are prepared by assessing the risk at your facility and following combustible dust safe handling practices.
Contact us with questions on this article or to schedule a combustible dust assessment at your facility.
If you have any questions concerning this article or other safety issues, please contact W. Jon Wallace, "The Safety Guru", at 919.933.5548 or by