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Blog: Imperial Systems Approach to Dust Collection

Working With OSHA to Stop Combustible Dust in Your Facility

Imperial Systems helps you find the best dust collector system for your manufacturing facility

Almost any material can become combustible when broken down into dust and suspended in the air at the right concentration levels. Dust from seemingly innocuous materials – such as food (e.g., sugar, flour, feed, etc.), wood, paper, plastics, pharmaceuticals, metals, and more – can become an explosion hazard if not properly monitored and eliminated. As a result, leaders in a wide range of industries and processes, including agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, power generation, recycling, and 3D printing, are investing in Imperial Systems dust collectors and filters to stop combustible dust before it becomes an active hazard in their facilities.

stop-combustible-dustThe following recommendations from OSHA are provided to help you assess your facility and stop combustible dust hazards:

  1. Inspect your facility surfaces regularly for accumulated dust. OSHA inspectors flag accumulations of 1/32nd of an inch (about as thick as a paper clip) over a surface area equal to 5% of the floor area or more for an immediate cleaning. Regular cleaning rounds can also reveal sporadic increases in dust particle build up, alerting you to potential equipment maintenance needs.
  1. Ensure the accessibility of all areas of your facility. OSHA strongly recommends a written plan with cleaning frequencies established for all horizontal surfaces. You must be able to access every horizontal surface of your plant safely — including ductwork, beam and joist surfaces, and the space above suspended ceilings—to assess dust buildup levels.
  1. Position your dust collectors appropriately.  According to OSHA, dust collectors with a volume greater than 8 cubic feet should be placed outside of buildings to help stop combustible dust displacement.
  1. Confirm that all electrical wiring and equipment is approved for use in your facility’s conditions. According to OSHA, “The use of proper electrical equipment in hazardous locations is crucial to eliminating a common ignition source.”
  1. Control potential ignition sources. Post “No Smoking” signs. Control static electricity by bonding and grounding equipment. Provide personal protective equipment as needed, not only as a protective barrier for the employees but also to prevent ignition from static electricity.
  1. Perform regular preventive maintenance on all safety and production equipment. Machines and tools that are in in bad repair are a common cause of ignition.
  1. Train site leaders and employees to recognize and prevent ignition hazards. Training should take place before they begin employment and be refreshed periodically to update or review material. Site leaders and employees should also know the overall safety programs ignition source control and to stop combustible dust.  Encouraging employees to report unsafe practices also helps to develop a company culture of safety.

If your facility is at risk from fine dust, powders or other flammables, contact Imperial Systems today at 800.918.3013 for dust collectors and filters that will stop combustible dust before it endangers your business.

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