OSHA defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in the air, in certain conditions.” For a combustible dust explosion to occur, five factors must be present: fuel (combustible dust), ignition (heat or spark), oxygen (air), dispersion (dust suspension) and confinement. Removal of any one element will eliminate the possibility of occurrence.
The following is a list of some of the agencies and organizations involved in monitoring dust hazards in the woodshop.
OSHA: Last year OSHA put the brakes on establishing a combustible dust standard. Currently, the General Duty Clause is being cited for these violations, referencing NFPA as a resource. OSHA.gov/dsg/combustibledust/index.html
NFPA: Creates voluntary consensus standards used by OSHA, AHJ, Business Owner and other related parties. Reference NFPA 664 and NFPA 652. NFPA.org
AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction): This includes the fire marshal, building inspector, or any other local, state, or federal inspector having jurisdiction over your facility.
Insurance Company: The FM Global data sheet 7-76 Prevention and Mitigation of Combustible Dust lists “Woodworking” as the greatest number of “Losses by Industry” and “Dust Collectors” as highest number of “Losses by Equipment Type.”
Business Owner: Ultimately the owner has the responsibility to protect workers and the business, by using these and any other appropriate and relevant resources.
Employee: Worker training is of utmost importance for safety and the prevention of workplace incidents.
Source: Information provided by Jamison Scott, executive vice president at Air Handling Systems. For information call 800-367-3828 or visit AirHand.com. Combustible dust resources: airhand.com/combustible-dust.