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Myth Busters: Certified Vacuums and NFPA Standards

Posted on September 19, 2016

Nilfisk’s Myth Buster series continues here with understanding Certified Vacuums and NFPA Standards. View the video here!


Myth: My facility is not a hazardous or classified environment so I don’t need certified or NFPA-compliant vacuums.

Fact: Your vacuum requirements are dictated by the type and amount of dust you collect – not by the environment you are cleaning.

If you are collecting any amount of dust – in any environment – your electric-powered vacuums must meet certain safety requirements set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The NFPA standards outline the requirements for identifying and managing combustible dust fire and explosion hazards.

Originally, there were five industry-specific standards. Then, in September 2015, NFPA 652 was added. It serves as the unifying standard, making sure that fundamental requirements are addressed consistently across industries, processes and dust types.

These NFPA standards apply to all facilities and operations that manufacture, process, blend, convey, repackage, generate or handle combustible dusts.

It is your responsibility to assess your risk and have the dust at your facility tested….even if you’ve never had an incident.

That risk assessment must be documented and you must specify your cleaning methods and equipment.

Vacuuming is the preferred cleaning method to reduce the risks of combustible dust.

Section of NFPA 652 provides a list of seven specific requirements for all portable vacuum cleaners that will be used to collect combustible dust in any unclassified (nonhazardous) area.

These requirements cover the construction and operation of the vacuum, including its motor, filters, hoses and accessories.

NFPA 652 is not a law, but you should take it very seriously because OSHA uses it to evaluate risk and cite safety violations. Failure to comply can lead to hefty fines and penalties.

Violations of NFPA 652 guidelines may also lead other authorities having jurisdiction – like fire marshals – to withhold permits or insurance coverage.

And worst of all, failure to comply with NFPA 652 puts your facility and people at risk for devastating combustible dust fires and explosions.

Get all the facts you need so that you can make the safe choice.

Visit www.Comdust-myths.com to download a complete Combustible Dust Mythbusting Guide.