If you represent a business that handles combustible dust, you are likely here because you are trying to:
- Ensure that your employees are working in a safe environment
- Comply with standards such as NFPA 652 (2019) – Fundamentals of Combustible Dust
- Avoid potential fines or temporary shutdowns from OSHA
- Adhere to local authorities having jurisdiction
- Meet demands from your insurance provider to minimize premiums
Fike’s Explosion Safety Consultants are available to help you with any of these problems and much more. We can educate you about what’s required from industrial processes that handle combustible dust and what you must do to ensure the safety of your employees.
It often begins with a combustible dust risk assessment, which will identify the steps required to prevent a dust explosion from ever occurring.
HOW TO PREVENT DUST EXPLOSIONS
The Dust Explosion Pentagon indicates the five elements required for a deflagration. By removing as many elements as possible, an explosion becomes far less likely to occur.
While explosion protection systems are usually still required to protect against the worst-case scenario, explosion prevention helps reduce the chance of those systems ever activating. Some of the most effective methods of preventing a dust explosion include:
Knowing where explosions could occur in a process is an important first step to explosion prevention, as it also indicates areas of the process which are safe and may be ignored. Hazard identification investigates:
- How the material within the equipment is being handled and conveyed
- The explosibility characteristics of the material
- If enough room exists in certain equipment to create a dust cloud
- If the equipment could create or support conditions for an explosion or fire
Ignition Source Identification
As observed in the dust explosion pentagon, combustion can only occur if an ignition source is present.
Possible ignition sources include: open flames, hot surfaces from combustion equipment, frictional heat from overheated bearings, sparks from broken equipment, electrostatic discharge from containers not properly grounded, smoldering material and even rogue objects such as a bolt entering the process.
Identifying these ignition sources and implementing an action plan to remove or reduce them as much as possible is essential to effective explosion prevention efforts.
Dust hazards don’t only exist within process equipment, and the areas outside of the process must also be inspected for dust accumulation. In fact, some of the deadliest explosions occurred from the deflagration escaping from the process and igniting externally accumulated dust.
Within the DHA, areas which may accumulate dust outside of the process must be documented, including: overhead surfaces; piperuns; light fixtures; conveying ducts; atop electrical panels; roof of machine operating center, and more.
Explosion may be prevented by simply eliminating these external dust hazards by improving general housekeeping efforts.
Dust explosion can only occur if the dust is indeed combustible; therefore, identifying the various dusts throughout a process and their explosibility properties are required for plant safety.
Combustible dust testing services are often necessary when the dust is non-traditional and little information about the dust’s explosibility has been documented, or when the process handles a mixture of various dusts, creating a unique composition.
These explosibility values are important to determine the potentially hazardous areas within the facility, and will also be used to assist with any future explosion and fire protection system design processes.
WHY FIKE FOR DUST EXPLOSION PREVENTION?
With decades of explosion safety knowledge, on-site explosion test labs and unmatched empirical data, there’s no partner more qualified to solve your combustible dust problems than Fike. Our Consultancy Group offers:
- Dust Testing
- Dust Sampling Plan
- Equipment Strength Calculation
- Explosion Vent & Isolation Verification
- Consequence Analysis by computer modelling
- NFPA/OSHA Gap Analysis
- Incident Investigation
- Expert Witness
- Training Programs
Here’s what sets Fike apart from other explosion prevention consultants:
Unmatched experience evaluating and protecting nearly all industries and their complex processes from devastating combustible dust explosions
Access to Fike’s decades of data and the services provided by an on-site Combustion Test Lab, Remote Test Site and Flow Characteristics Lab
In addition to completing a DHA, Fike offers on-site dust testing, explosion protection system design, installation, commissioning, maintenance and more
It’s our promise that we will always recommend the most reliable solution, whether or not it involves Fike products and services
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