I recently spent 2 days attending a seminar about Combustible Dust put on by the NFPA’s Guy Colona. Its purpose was to discuss and inform those attending of the safe practices for dust hazard processes. The seminar went into great detail about how to identify a dust problem, how to determine if the dust is combustible and possibly explosive, as well as a review of the various standards associated with this hazard.
Guy reviewed various combustible dust explosions in the past and explained various terms like Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC), Minimum Ignition Energy (MIC), Deflagration Index (KST) and more.
We discussed OSHA’s past and current role in attempting to address this hazard and reviewed in some detail NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids. He also informed us of a new NFPA guide to Combustible Dust which will be coming out in a month or so. Overall it was very informative and would be worthwhile for any safety manager that works in an industry that has a potential Combustible Dust hazard. The more you know about possible hazards the better able you are to protect workers should an incident occur.