- Define combustible dust and its source as it relates to the learner’s industry.
- Identify potential ignition sources that may contribute to a dust explosion.
- Recognize combustible dust dangers in their workplace/industry.
- Describe methods to prevent the occurrence of combustible dust explosions.
This lesson is designed to improve the safety of workers in environments where combustible dusts may be encountered by increasing employee awareness of this hazard and by demonstrating how the hazard can be recognized and addressed in the workplace.
Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air in certain conditions. A dust explosion can be catastrophic and cause employee deaths, injuries, and destruction of entire buildings. In many combustible dust incidents, employers and employees were unaware that a hazard even existed. It is important to determine if your company has this hazard, and if you do, you must take action now to prevent tragic consequences.
Industries at Risk Combustible dust explosion hazards exist in a variety of industries, including: agriculture, chemicals, food (e.g., candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed), grain, fertilizer, tobacco, plastics, wood, forest, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, tire and rubber manufacturing, dyes, coal, metal processing (e.g., aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc), recycling operations, fossil fuel power generation (coal), and 3D welding (a form of 3D printing).
Dust Control Recommendations:
- Implement a hazardous dust inspection, testing, housekeeping, and control program;
- Use proper dust collection systems and filters;
- Minimize the escape of dust from process equipment or ventilation systems;
- Use surfaces that minimize dust accumulation and facilitate cleaning;
- Provide access to all hidden areas to permit inspection;
- Inspect for dust residues in open and hidden areas at regular intervals;
- If ignition sources are present, use cleaning methods that do not generate dust clouds;
- Use only vacuum cleaners approved for dust collection; and
- Locate relief valves away from dust deposits.
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