For more than a decade, OSHA has placed an emphasis on combustible dust hazards, which have resulted in numerous deadly incidents over the years. While no OSHA standard directly addresses combustible dust, this has not hindered OSHA enforcement.
An explosion in an unprotected dust collector produces a high-pressure wave that can fragment the housing and send heat, flames and dangerous projectiles into the workplace. Obviously, this is extremely dangerous for workers, equipment and structures.
Establishing any construction project is a careful balancing act between many legal, financial and social responsibilities. Firms not only have a responsibility to shareholders and business partners, but to their workers, the local authority and site neighbors in the wider community as well.
What makes dust so harmful for construction workers is that it’s a combination of particles from various materials used on project sites. These fine grains could be heavy metals, asbestos, pollen, silica and much more.
Dust particles become airborne during indoor metalworking processes like welding and plasma cutting. They also become airborne during the manufacturing and processing of food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other dry products.
Recognizing dangerous combustible dust situations in manufacturing plants and processing facilities helps you to quickly observe and recognize an unsafe situation in everyday work environments, evaluate whether you and your coworkers are in harm’s way, and decide what steps are necessary to make the area safe.
Industrial vacuums are the right tool for preventing secondary explosions
January 13, 2020
The issue of dust explosions has been a hot topic since the early 20 century. In a book published by the NFPA in 1922, titled Dust Explosions, the authors, David J. Price and Harold H. Brown, acknowledge the need for a vacuum that can withstand the rigors of an industrial environment.
As defined by OSHA, combustible dust is “a solid material composed of distinct particles or pieces, regardless of size, shape or chemical composition, which can present a fire or deflagration hazard when suspended in air or some other oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations.”