For some industries, combustible dust is a constant danger in the workplace. A combustible dust explosion may occur when one or more volatile metals go beyond the PPM safety limits. The force of such an explosion can destroy facilities, result in injury, and even lead to death. Thus, employers and employees are responsible for implementing measures to ensure a safe and explosion-free workplace.
Identify a Combustible Dust Hazard
The general rule for dust accumulation is that it is a potential hazard if you can write in it or if the amount of dust is as thick as a paper clip. The company should then perform a risk assessment, taking into account the potential of a dust explosion from happening, along with the present ignition sources. It is ideal to carry out this assessment as soon as possible.
Test for Combustible Dust
Employees and employers who are uncertain of the combustibility of the dust in their workplace can send samples for testing. To collect a sample of dust, employees and employers can use a dust collection system, such as a dry or wet dust collector. Alternatively, the employer may hire a dust explosion consultant to take a sample.
After collecting the dust sample, the laboratory will conduct a series of tests to find out the combustible risk of a dust. Some of these tests are a minimum-ignition temperature test, an explosibility screening, and a minimum-ignition energy test on a dust cloud and dust layer.
Take Preventive Measures
As recommended by safety and health experts, there are other ways to reduce the likelihood of combustible dust explosions. One of which is to prevent the accumulation on horizontal surfaces, such as window beams and ledges. Another is to get rid of hidden areas where dust can go undetected.
Everyone in the company should make the effort to ensure a safe, explosion-free workplace. By doing so, the dangers of combustible dust at work can be dramatically reduced.