Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust… and Dust to Ashes:
The Impact of Variables on Dust Explosion Properties
Combustible dust explosions continue to be the source of fatal accidents around the world. In North America, OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on Combustible Dusts followed by NFPA 652 (Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust) seeks to raise awareness and seed good practices just as the ATEX Directives in Europe with the same intention but using a regulatory instrument to enforce compliance. Despite these initiatives incidents continue to occur.
The cornerstone of ensuring that a robust “safe system of work” or “basis of safety” exists for dust explosion risks is having sufficient knowledge of the characteristics of the dust on which sound procedural and engineering control / safety measures can be based. How can an explosion be avoided reliably if the ignition sensitivity of the dust is unknown?