NADCA’s Combustible Dust Training – Section 1 – Dust Explosions & Fires

“With the recent Coal Mine Accident in West Virginia, I thought it would be a good idea to refresh and re-emphasize Combustible Dust Hazards”

Any combustible material (and some materials normally considered noncombustible) can burn rapidly when in a finely divided form. If such a dust is suspended in air in the right concentration, it can become explosive. The force from such an explosion can cause employee deaths, injuries, and destruction of entire buildings. Such incidents have killed scores of employees and injured hundreds over the past few decades.

Materials that may form combustible dust include metals (such as aluminum and magnesium), wood, coal, plastics, biosolids, sugar, paper, soap, dried blood, and certain textiles. In many accidents, employers and employees were unaware that a hazard even existed.

A combustible dust explosion hazard may exist in a variety of industries, including: food (e.g., candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed), grain, tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, metals (e.g., aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc), and fossil fuel power generation.

The following questions link to information relevant to combustible dust in the workplace.

Standards What standards apply?
OSHA | National Consensus
Additional  Information What additional information is available?
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages | Other Resources

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