Workrite Uniform Company, an Oxnard, CA, flame-resistant clothing company, has released a list of the top five industries where workers face combustible dust explosion and fire hazards.
According to Workrite, employees in affected industries can reduce their risk for suffering serious or fatal burns in combustible dust flash fires by wearing flame-resistant (FR) clothing that has been UL certified to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 2112) Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire.
Here are the top five workplaces where workers could be caught in a combustible dust fire or explosion:
Food Production: Many agricultural products, such as sugar, grains, egg whites and even powdered milk, carry the risk of combustion under the right conditions. Workers in the agricultural industry should be made aware of the inherent risks of handling, transporting and storing these products.
Synthetic Manufacturing: Materials that are common in synthetic manufacturing, including rubber, plastics and other man-made substances, can create combustible dust clouds with the potential to ignite.
Woodworking: Frequently cutting, grinding, sanding and polishing wood can generate a significant amount of sawdust, which is able to easily combust in certain conditions, such as being ignited by a spark from a nearby machine.
Metal Processing: Dust from metals such as aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium and zinc, is combustible and many of the activities in a metal-processing environment can produce heat and sparks.
Recycling Facilities: These businesses handle a wide variety of materials, and there is a risk of explosions caused by combustible dust during sorting, processing, handling and transporting activities.
To minimize the risks for combustible dust fires/explosions, employers must perform risk assessments, ensure that work areas are kept clean, conduct regular inspections and ensure that workers wear the appropriate PPE.
For detailed information, review NFPA 654, the industry standard providing safety measures to prevent and mitigate fires and dust explosions in facilities that handle combustible particulate solids. It is available at National Fire Protection Association