Preventing Fires with Combustible Dust Cleanings

We all know that outdoor air quality, particularly in the summer, is a health issue of concern. Hot, hazy days can lead to high levels of pollution and poor air quality, and affect our quality of life. It’s important to remember, however, that indoor air quality can also be a concern.

Indoor Air Pollution and Health

Indoor air quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality inside buildings and structures such as homes, offices, and businesses. It specifically relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce indoor health concerns. Poor air quality indoor is the cause of “sick building syndrome,” and it can lead to respiratory problems and even impaired thinking and learning.

Proper ventilation and filtration are vital for keeping indoor air quality high, as well as regular duct maintenance. Dirty air ducts can aggravate allergies and asthma, so it’s important that all buildings undergo regular cleaning. But aside from indoor air quality, there’s another important reason to follow regular maintenance, particularly in commercial buildings: some dust is highly combustible.

What is Combustible Dust?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air in certain conditions.” Essentially, the components of dust — plant pollen, human and animal hairs, textile fibers, paper fibers, minerals from outdoor soil, kitchen particles like flour, industrial materials, human skin cells and more – are flammable, and when they are present in large quantities, they can pose a fire risk.

Dust is primarily made of finely divided solid particles that, upon ignition, can explode when ignited. Unfortunately, most people aren’t even aware of the risk.

This often-overlooked potential hazard is more common than you may think, and yet combustible dust explosions, accompanied by fires, are often one of the most ignored risks in the workplace.

Safety agencies such as OSHA recommend that manufacturers study and understand the elements of their production processes and the particles these processes may be putting into the air, as well as ignition sources such as flames, sparks, hot machinery, stoves, welding arcs and more. It’s also important to engage a commercial combustible dust cleaning and control service that understands the importance of maintenance to prevent fires.

Contact Preferred Hood & Duct, Inc. For questions and more information, fill out our online form, or contact us directly at 860-613-1130.