People working behind a welding machine with sparks

Are your dust characteristics explosive? Find out if you are operating under conditions that can create a serious explosion.

Explosions and fires are a constant threat when you are working in an industry that operates with combustible dust. If you are taking right steps to ensure a safe working environment, you'll be more likely to avoid a dust collector emergency that will cost you the safety of your employees, thousands of dollars in lost production, and regulatory fines. To understand how you can avoid these disasters, let's take a look at the conditions that can cause an explosion. Surprisingly, there are only a few.

Conditions for a Dust Explosion

  • Oxygen

  • Enclosed space

  • Ignition source

  • Combustible dust at the right concentration level

So now you are aware of the right conditions, but how do you know if you are dealing with combustible dust? If you work with elements such as metals, solid organic materials (e.g. grain, wood, flour, etc), and some non-metallic inorganic materials, these will have characteristics that are considered combustible.

If you work with dust from wood, sugar, or fine aluminum these are considered to be some of the most combustible types of dust. What makes dust even more hazardous? When your particulate is very fine.

Finer particulate deals with a higher ratio of surface area to volume, which increases combustibility.

Industries with Combustible Dust

  • Agriculture (grain, flour, sugar, etc.)

  • Wood

  • Metals (aluminum, zinc bronze, etc.)

  • Rubber

  • Chemicals (coal, sulphur, etc.)

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Pesticides

  • Plastics

There are no short cuts to preventing a dust collector fire. It's going to be in the company's best interest, as well as your employees, to ensure that you are providing a safe and healthy work environment. Understanding if you are working with combustible dust is the first step in prevention.

So what's the next step? If you stay tuned for the next blog, we'll be sharing tips on how you can limit or prevent a dust collector fire.


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 We understand that every dust collection project is unique and requires a specific approach. For help with your air pollution control needs, reach out to one of our knowledgeable team members below.