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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
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