Combustible dust involves finely ground metal or organic particles found in food, paper, plastic, tobacco, textile, fossil fuel power generation, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides industries. It can accumulate inside or escape from equipment and settle on work area surfaces where, when dispersed into the air in the presence of an ignition source, it can cause an explosion.
For an explosion to occur, factors like combustible dust, which acts as fuel, ignition source, heat, oxygen in the air, the oxidizer, sufficient dispersion and concentration of dust particles, and dust cloud confinement must be present. Here are six tips for preventing combustible dust explosions.
1. Know your dust’s combustibility
To prevent dust explosions, first, find out if the materials you're using or their processing could cause an explosion. You can test the materials or look for combustibility information on the material safety data sheet (MSDS). You can also do some research to determine if the dust resulting from the materials you use could be combustible.
2. Ensure your dust collector meets the NFPA standards
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) has set standards for the collection of combustible dust. Partnering with an NFPA compliant dust collector like RoboVent will help you prevent explosions and minimize damages in case an explosion occurs.
3. Conduct a facility hazard assessment
Any industrial process that can reduce a combustible material into a finely divided state poses a potential for an explosion or a fire. To assess your company's potential for an explosion, identify materials that can be combustible when finely divided, processes that consume, use, or produce combustible dust, and open and hidden areas where combustible dust may build up.
Additionally, find how dust may be dispersed into the air and the possible ignition sources. Knowing your facility's potential for an explosion will help you come up with better prevention methods.
4. Consider ignition control
Control of ignition sources is essential for the prevention of explosions. To control ignition sources, use proper electrical equipment and wiring, control static electricity and mechanical sparks and ignition, separate heated surfaces and heating systems from dust, and ensure appropriate use and type of industrial trucks.
You can also ascertain the correct use of cartridge-activated tools and properly maintain your equipment. Consider using separator devices to eliminate foreign materials that can ignite combustibles from process materials and control smoking, sparks, and open flames.
5. Train your employees
Employees are your first line of defense towards the prevention and mitigation of explosions and fires. Training them on recognizing and preventing combustible dust hazards can help them recognize dangerous conditions, take preventive measures, or alert the management. Once your employees are trained, organize for periodic knowledge refreshment, as processes change over time.
6. Implement housekeeping procedures
To reduce the spread of dust, develop and implement housekeeping procedures. Consider using dust collection systems and use surfaces that accumulate little dust and facilitate cleaning. Reduce dust escape from process equipment and ventilation systems and go for cleaning methods that don't generate dust clouds if there are ignition sources in your facility. Additionally, only use vacuum cleaners suitable for dust collection and provide access to hidden areas to facilitate inspection.
To sufficiently prevent combustible dust explosions, look into inadequacies in housekeeping to control dust accumulations, oven maintenance, ventilation system design, and equipment safety devices. Use the above tips to curb dust explosions in your facility.
Disclaimer: No Deccan Chronicle journalist was involved in creating this content. The group also takes no responsibility for this content....