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Am I at risk for combustible dust? Assume Yes.

Posted on March 15, 2010

It seems like every other day there’s an article popping up in my inbox that cries out  “X” Industry at Risk for Combustible Dust!  Well, the unfortunate truth is that dust is everywhere, and with the right conditions so is the potential for a combustible dust event.   Yes, some combustible dusts are more surprising than others (cinnamon isn’t as sweet as we once thought), but the bottom line is, with manufacturing comes dust.  Luckily not all preventative measures need to cost a fortune.  In fact, housekeeping is a HUGE part of the equation.  If you can remove the dust, than you’ve removed a key part of the ComDust pentagon. Just be sure you’re using safe techniques

1. Don’t create dust clouds while sweeping (or using compressed air, which doesn’t  remove the dust anyways).

2. If your dust is “classed” be sure to use non-sparking, antistatic accessories.

3. Make sure your vacuums are approved for use in your classed environment (consult with your AHJ to determine if your environment requires explosion-proof equipment). In many cases, a standard vacuum with antistatic accessories will do the trick, but check with your AHJ first.

4. Don’t forget those hard-to-reach areas, especially tops of machinery, ceiling pipes, lights, etc.

5. If you opt for a contract cleaner, make sure they’re trained and certified to deal with combustible dust; and make sure they have the right equipment! Beware of companies who use shop-style vacuums to collect hazardous materials.  Improper equipment made of plastic and exposed motors, can actually cause the deadly spark.

Want more info on combustible dust preventative maintenance, check out www.explosionproof-vacuum.com