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Consequence and Risk Analysis

Dust Explosion Audits & Assessments

Combustible Dust Hazard Evaluation Audits Background

Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under certain conditions. A dust explosion can be catastrophic and cause employee deaths, injuries, and destruction of entire buildings. In many combustible dust accidents, employers and employees were unaware that a hazard even existed. Between 1980 and 2005, there were 281 documented combustible dust incidents that killed 119 workers, injured 718, and extensively damaged industrial facilities. The incidents occurred in 44 states, in many different industries, and involved a variety of different materials. As a result, in 2007 OSHA embarked on a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to inspect facilities that generate or handle combustible dusts that pose a deflagration or other fire hazard when suspended in air, regardless of particle size or shape. BakerRisk can assist clients with identifying combustible dust explosion hazards, evaluating whether a facility is in compliance with the intent of applicable national codes and standards (e.g., NFPA 654), and developing preventative and mitigation options.

Overview of NFPA 654

NFPA 654: Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids” contains comprehensive guidance on the control of dusts to prevent explosions. The following are some of its recommendations:

Industries Most Susceptible to Dust Explosion Hazards

Types of Combustible Dusts

BakerRisk Services

Imperial Sugar, Port Wentworth.
(Feb. 7 2008, 14 fatalities)