How to prevent combustible dust explosion accidents in the factory or workshop
Dust explosions can be deadly, and cause major destruction to a workshop or production plant. The combustible dust that gives rise to these explosions cannot be prevented as such, as it is a natural by-product of various common materials and manufacturing processes. The accidents it can cause, however, can and must be prevented. Awareness of the issue among the personnel, proper housekeeping routines, and having the right equipment in place, are all key measures in preventing dust explosions from causing damages, injuries, or even loss of human lives.
Is your dust a safety hazard?
A professional lab test can determine the combustibility of the dust handled in your workplace. This test will disclose the dust’s Kst value (or deflagration index) – determining the normalized rate of pressure rise of the combustible dust – as well as its Pmax value – measuring the maximum explosion overpressure generated in the test chamber. The test can also determine which dust explosion class the dust belongs to, from St 0 to St 3. The higher the class of the dust, the greater the potential explosion.
If the lab results indicate that your dust is indeed combustible, an additional analysis of your factory or workshop should be made. That analysis will look at how best to prevent dust explosion accidents, and reduce the risk of combustible dust settling in and spreading throughout your facility.
Measures for preventing combustible dust explosion accidents
Listed below are some concrete ways of reducing the buildup and spread of combustible dust, and the risk of it leading to a fatal dust explosion.
- Install a safe dust collector, preferably one connected to an efficient source capture extraction system. Extracting the dust in immediate proximity to where it is produced, source capture is an effective method of preventing dust from spreading. The dust collector may also be equipped with explosion isolation flap valves that further reduce the risk of a dust explosion propagating and spreading throughout the factory or workshop. An IIoT-connected, “smart” dust collector can even provide operators with useful data on its status, capacity, and maintenance needs.
- Barriers in the form of canopies, walls, or other types of physical obstacles can also prevent dust and dust explosions from spreading.
- Identify potential ignition sources that may ignite combustible dust, and remove or reduce them in order to lower the risk of a dust explosion.
- Simply put, the finer the dust particles, the higher the risk of an explosion. If processes can be altered to make the particles bigger and coarser, that can help prevent combustible dust explosions.
- Awareness and proper housekeeping routines. One of the greatest hazards of combustible dust is ignoring the risks it poses. Make sure you and your colleagues are fully aware of the potential safety risks of the dust produced in your workplace, and that industrial housekeeping routines are followed and performed as intended.
Watch the video to learn how you with isolation can prevent dust explosions from spreading.
Visit our website, and our Nederman Knowledge Center, to read more about our solutions and how we work with reducing the risks of combustible dust and dust explosions. If you want to know more about what we can do to ensure the safety of your workplace, please contact your local Nederman office.