Industrial Safety

How to deal with combustible dust

With the help of engineering consultants and experienced equipment suppliers, a plant can minimize risk factors and maximize combustible dust safety.

By David Steil, Matt Caulfield and Brian Richardson for Chemical Processing

Controlling toxic and combustible dust is a common yet serious challenge in chemical processing. Everyday operations like mixing, drying, conveying and blending create dangerous dusts that can become airborne, endanger air quality and pose fire and explosion hazards.

Each facility has unique dust issues based on the materials handled and operations involved. Every chemical processor, though, must comply with U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to protect its employees from exposure to airborne dusts as well as National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards to provide a safe working environment.

A company must control toxic chemical dust emissions in the indoor workplace atmosphere to comply with OSHA’s established permissible exposure limit (PEL) for workers. If no legal limits apply, then the firm must define in writing, implement and measure its own environmental safety plan to comply with OSHA’s general duty clause (which mandates a workplace environment free of recognized hazards).

To learn more, read "Deftly Deal With Dangerous Dust" from Chemical Processing.

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