Regulations applying to combustible dust

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Companies that handle combustible dust need to comply with workplace safety regulations, and legislation aimed at preventing the risks posed by combustible dust. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed federal standards for workplace safety in the United States. In the European Union, the ATEX directives have been adopted in order to protect employees and equipment in workplaces with an explosive atmosphere.

OSHA regulations for combustible dust

OSHA enforces certain mandatory, federal standards on combustible dust, concerning workplace safety precautions as well as material handling issues. Some states and US territories have adopted their own OSHA-approved State Plans; standards and enforcement programs which are required to be at least as effective as those of OSHA. Companies and organizations that fail to comply with OSHA regulations expose their employees to well-documented safety risks. Violations of these regulations can also result in significant fines.

NFPA standards provide guidance on combustible dust risks and regulations

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed standards on the fundamentals of combustible dust. These are not regulations, but represent leading scientific and expert guidelines on mitigation measures and risks related to combustible dust. The NFPA standards provide useful recommendations for worker and workplace safety, and should be observed by companies that handle combustible dust. Federal and state combustible dust regulations, such as those of OSHA, are often based on the guidance of the NFPA’s recommendations.

ATEX regulations address workplace safety and equipment in the EU

The ATEX directives stipulate that companies and organizations that operate in the European Union member states must comply with the ATEX Equipment Directive 2014/34/EU and the ATEX Workplace Directive 99/92/EC. These directives regulate workplaces with potentially explosive atmospheres. More specifically: equipment and protective systems, and the safety and health of workers, respectively.

An explosive workplace atmosphere is one where there is a mixture of dangerous substances in the air. These can be different forms of dust, gases, mist, or vapors that, when ignited, can combust and spread throughout the facility. A combustible dust explosion is a perfect example of this. Neither the dust, nor the explosion, can be completely prevented. However, the ATEX directives force companies to invest in workplace safety solutions that reduce the risks posed by combustible dust and dust explosions.

Want to know more about our safe and reliable solutions for handling combustible dust? Visit our website to read more about our ATEX compliant products. You can also find out more about our work with combustible dust collection solutions, combustible dust explosion risk reduction, and a whole lot more, in our Nederman Knowledge Center.