A close-up photo of a fire.In the last 35 years there have been about 350 industrial dust explosions in the United States, with over 130 people killed and hundreds more injured. And yet combustible dust explosions along with related fires are some of the most overlooked risks in any workplace.

An important step in the control and prevention of combustible dust accumulation is regularly cleaning air ducts and vents. HVAC systems can suck up traces of combustible particles, which will accumulate in dangerous levels over time. They can also cause combustible dust particles to recirculate and accumulate throughout a facility. Ducts, vents, and hoods – especially those connected to ovens, furnaces, or other hear sources – should be cleaned regularly.

If you’re in Connecticut and are interested in commercial air duct cleaning services in order to mitigate the risk of industrial combustible dust accidents, call Preferred Hood & Duct in Middletown at (860) 613-1130 or get in touch with the form below.

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More Information about Combustible Dust

What is Combustible Dust?

Combustible dust is defined as any fine material that can mix with air and pose an explosion risk. Examples of combustible dust can include sugar, flour, sawdust, aluminum and other metals, as well as certain mon-metal inorganic materials. Materials don’t have to be something you’d normally think of as flammable or combustible to pose a threat in dust form; many materials can explode when their particles are the right size and in the right concentration.

When combustible dusts collect in large quantities and mix with the air, any ignition can cause a serious explosion. Common places where these dusts accumulate include rafters, crevices, dust collectors, and air ducts.

Who is at Risk from Combustible Dust?

The main threat from combustible dust is posed to those in industrial environments and other workplaces. Dust explosions aren’t usually a problem in residential homes. That’s why OSHA and the National Fire Prevention Association currently hold workplaces to the standards set by the NFPA 654: Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids. Click the link above to find out more about this standard.National Fire Prevention Association logo

Those especially at risk are those in industries that deal with the following materials:

  • Food products like powdered milk, sugar, flour, egg whites, and grains
  • Metals like aluminum, bronze, magnesium, or zinc
  • Mineral dust like coal or sulphur
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Rubber
  • Wood
  • Textiles
  • Plastics
  • Pesticides

Combustible Dust Control and Prevention

If you think you’re at risk from combustible dust, there are numerous controls and precautionary measures that can be taken. First, make sure that facilities at risk are cleaned regularly. This includes floors, ceilings, ledges, beams, and other places where dust can accumulate.

Control possible sources of ignition by maintaining electronic devices, prohibiting cigarette smoking, and grounding possible sources of electrostatic charges or sparks.