Cold Weather a Risk for Dust Explosions
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Cold Weather a Risk for Dust Explosions

29 Jul Posted by in critical applications, hazardous dusts, HEPA Air Filtration | Comments Off on Cold Weather a Risk for Dust Explosions
Cold Weather a Risk for Dust Explosions
 

Combustible dust is always a safety concern; however, during the cold, winter months, there is an increased risk of explosion. It is such a concern that Workplace Safety North recently conducted and released a report regarding combustible dust hazards. The reason for this increased risk during winter is because of the lower humidity levels, which makes it easier for an explosion to occur within a small area.

One study shows that seven out of eight combustible dust explosions that resulted in fatalities between 1995 and 2009 actually took place during the winter season. However, the cold air isn’t the only thing that results in an increased risk of a dust explosion. There are three things that a dust fire needs in order to occur: oxygen, fuel and an ignition source. A dust explosion needs those same three things in addition to confinement and dispersion.

In order to keep your industrial area safer during the winter months when a combustible dust explosion is more likely, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Many businesses try to conserve heat by reducing ventilation; however, this can actually result in a dust explosion.
When wall dampers and bay doors are closed, ventilation is reduced and circulation is decreased, creating the perfect environment for a combustible dust explosion.
An additional source of ignition for combustible dust is a portable heating unit.
Since it’s getting colder outside, employers need to thoroughly assess the building(s) for any safety hazards or risks that may be associated with the accumulation of dust. Even the smallest amount of dust accumulation can result in a large explosion. In fact, only five percent of a room’s surface has to be covered to result in a very powerful and catastrophic explosion.

In order to help control dust hazards, it is recommended that you do the following:

Use specialized equipment when vacuuming dust. This type of equipment would include industrial vacuums and dust collectors that have been designed specifically for collecting dust. Compressed air should be avoided at all costs, as it can result in a dust cloud that could easily explode.
Ensure all employees are trained to not only recognize, but also report any combustible dust safety hazards that they see so that the problem can be addressed early on before a catastrophe.
Do not ignore hidden areas that may have dust build-up.
To ensure you have the proper dust collection equipment and to have any of your questions answered regarding combustible dust hazards, contact Ryvac Engineering, who proudly serves the entire United States.

Tags:
cold weather, combustible dust, dust collectors, industrial vacuums, ryvac engineering