Chicago, IL, March 16th, 2018
Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced over $91,000 in proposed penalties for a pallet manufacturer in Illinois. This was the result of repeated violations including six serious and three other-than-serious.
One of the violations was for allowing combustible dust to accumulate on surfaces in the facility. Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under certain conditions. OSHA reports that five elements are necessary to initiate a dust explosion, often referred to as the Dust Explosion Pentagon. The first three elements are those needed for a fire, i.e., the familiar Fire Triangle:
- Combustible dust (fuel);
- Ignition source (heat); and,
- Oxygen in air (oxidizer).
An additional two elements must be present for a combustible dust explosion:
- Dispersion of dust particles in sufficient quantity and concentration; and,
- Confinement of the dust cloud.
If one of the above five elements is missing, an explosion cannot occur. The ease of ignition and the severity of a combustible dust explosion are also typically influenced by particle size. Other factors that influence the explosiveness of dusts include moisture content, ambient humidity, oxygen available for combustion, the shape of dust particles and the concentration of dust in the air.
OSHA lists a number of industries at risk for combustible dust explosions, they include: agriculture, chemicals, food (e.g., candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed), grain, fertilizer, tobacco, plastics, wood, forest, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, tire and rubber manufacturing, dyes, coal, metal processing (e.g., aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium and zinc), recycling operations, and fossil fuel power generation (coal).
“It is critical to prevent conditions from developing in an indoor environment that could allow for a dust explosion,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “When they occur, they are often catastrophic, resulting in employee deaths, injuries and the destruction of buildings. A key component of any safety program designed to identify potential combustible dust dangers is indoor environmental testing and monitoring. At EMSL, our scientists work to prevent these hazards by offering comprehensive combustible dust testing services and real-time air monitoring instruments.”
EMSL has also sponsored an online video about combustible dust hazards that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/xX0apupkO3E
To learn more about combustible dusts or other environmental and occupational testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (856) 858-4800 ext. 3604 or email jpassero@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 43 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella
, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com
for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.