Understanding the changes to NFPA 654 for combustible dust

Your plant's safety relies on your knowledge of the changes to NFPA 654.

By Steven J. Luzik, Chilworth Technology, Inc.

The Standards Council of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Quincy, Mass., has issued the 2013 revision of the NFPA 654 "Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids." This standard applies to all combustible particulate solids or hybrid mixtures, regardless of concentration or particle size, where the materials present a fire or explosion hazard. The owners or operators of affected facilities are responsible for implementing the requirements.

The 2013 edition, which now is in effect, incorporates several significant changes, most notably in the areas of housekeeping and establishing whether or not a flash fire or explosion hazard exists within a facility. These changes are particularly important because incident history and statistics clearly indicate that secondary dust explosions, caused by inadequate housekeeping and excessive dust accumulations, have been responsible for much of the damage and casualties experienced in major industrial dust explosions. Other important areas that have been revised or where new requirements have been added include safety management practices such as hazard analysis, management of change, training, emergency procedures, and contractor and subcontractor safety.

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