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How To Properly Manage Combustible Dust

It’s no secret how dangerous combustible dust can be to both your employees and your property. With the various regulations and recommendations out there today, are you taking the necessary and correct measures to stay safe? This article will break down a few of our recommended steps to ensure a safe workplace. Best of all – Heneveld Industrial Group can help with them all!

Combustible dust are the fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under certain conditions. Combustible dust fires and explosions can cause devastation to your property, and more importantly, serious injury or death.

It’s important to note that because a certain material may not usually be combustible, their byproduct dust particles may be. This makes testing the dust you produce extremely important.

To prevent potential combustible dust catastrophes, we came up with four steps and suggestions to reduce your risk.

1. Test the dust you produce
2. Establish proper housekeeping habits
3. Contain dust with the correct equipment
4. Comply with all combustible dust regulations

Testing for Combustibility

Initial testing of your dust is a fairly simple process, but needs to be done correctly and by trained personnel.  When we receive samples, we put them in a mechanism where they are pushed through a cylinder with compressed air. When the dust is pushed through the cylinder, it will be sent through an ignition point.  If the dust is combustible it will explode, if there is no explosion, the dust is most likely noncombustible. 

The video below shows a sample test done by one of our technicians. As you will see, this dust was very combustible.  If combustible in the initial test, the next step is to collect a larger sample size to send to the lab for more testing. Other tests that may be performed include a characterization test to determine the moisture content and particle size distribution.

Establishing Proper Housekeeping Habits

If producing combustible dust, it’s imperative that you’re taking correct measures to ensure your facility stays as dust-free as possible.  If you’re finding dust settling on the floor and on nearby machines, it’s important to take time to clean daily.  Also, if you’re seeing dust settling throughout, there will most likely be combustible dust on the walls, rafters, and ceilings. 

The best and safest method to clean combustible dust is with an industrial vacuum system.  These vacuum systems can be stationary, such as a central vacuum system, or mobile to move throughout the building.  Specifically designed for combustible dust, using these vacuum systems are the best, and safest, choice.

Containing Combustible Dust

A great way to keep dust particles contained is via dust collector.  With the correct design and ventilation system, dust collectors help with reducing explosion hazards. In addition, dust collectors may also help reduce the time spent on housekeeping.  After finding the correct dust collector system, add-ons like spark detection or a fire suppression system are highly recommended. 

Another great piece of equipment to contain these dangerous dust particles is with a downdraft table.  Downdraft tables have ventilation built in that will capture all dust, fumes, and smoke to keep them away from traveling.

Comply With the Regulations

Not properly dealing with combustible dust is not only dangerous, but could be costly. Failing to properly contain and remove combustible dust from your workplace could also cost you in regulatory penalties.  The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has numerous standards regarding combustible dust. Some of these standards include explosion protection systems, combustible metal, and more.  Understanding these documents and standards will help ensure your workplace is safe for you and your employees.

We understand trying to find the right solution, while complying with the regulations, can be a big headache. Heneveld Industrial Group is here to help with the tools and solutions to solve all your combustible dust needs. Call or email us today to develop a plan specific to you and your company

5 Key Benefits of Preventative Maintenance

What is Preventative Maintenance?

When most people think of Preventative Maintenance, they think the purpose is to fix problems – such as a down dust collector.  Although that’s a common misconception, Preventative Maintenance is really all about preventing the problems before they ever happen!  Think of oil changes for your car. You head to the auto shop when you have reached the recommended mileage to avoid more problems from happening, you don’t decide to get an oil change after your engine already failed. (At least we hope!)

Just like changing your oil regularly avoids larger problems, so does Preventative Maintenance for your workplace and employees.  Whether you need weekly, monthly or annual preventative maintenance routines, making time and priority for Preventative Maintenance will offer many benefits.

The Top 5 Benefits You Should Know!

1. Keep your employees safe.

Poorly maintained equipment and machinery is not only costing you money, but it’s also dangerous to you and your employees.  From oil leaks causing slippery floors to pallet racking not properly secured to faulty forklifts – there are a number of safety hazards that are potentially harmful.  By taking Preventive Maintenance seriously, you show your employees that you take their well-being seriously.  It also helps you avoid OSHA investigations, potential workman’s compensation claims and reduced labor capacity from injured workers.

2. Reduce your warehouse costs.

By up-keeping warehouse supplies and machines, you will be making sure they are always working and running at top performance.  They may need minor fixes during a Preventive Maintenance service, but that is a lot cheaper than replacing the entire system.  The key is to stay ahead of the problem – be proactive, not reactive!

3. Improve overall performance.

Regularly maintained equipment helps it run at peak performance.  The more efficient your equipment runs, the less energy and resources they require – which is another cost saving benefit!  For example, properly maintaining your dust collector keeps your collector running at peak performance and avoids ineffective cleaning, high dust loading, and reduces the chance of the entire machine failing.

4. Keep your warehouse and machine downtime at a minimum.

When a machine goes down for repairing, your company is losing valuable money.  Wasted employee wages since they’re unable to work when a machine is down, as well as loss of sales since you’re unable to produce, are the two biggest ways you lose money while machines are waiting to be repaired.  The goal of Preventative Maintenance is to keep everything running smooth to prevent this dreaded downtime.

5. Keep your customer service ratings high.

Machine failures are not a way to keep your customers happy.  Preventative Maintenance will reduce the risk of machine downtime, ensuring your customers will receive your products in a timely fashion.  On time service makes happy customers!

Getting Started

To get a regularly schedule Preventative Maintenance plan in place, call or email Heneveld Industrial Group today! You can even request an appointment online with our new online scheduler! Our technicians will create the best and most effective plan for your company, and can show your employees what to lookout for.

Heneveld Industrial Group
350 N. Centennial St.
Zeeland, MI 49464
888-997-3726 |

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