Preventing Wood Dust in the Plant
March 6, 2013 | 12:28 pm CST
Cabinet Firm Cited for Wood Dust, Safety Hazards

Preventing Wood Dust in the PlantOne of the most important things a woodworking facility can do is engage in housekeeping and fugitive dust control. If underlying surface colors are not readily discernible on your equipment, there could be a dust deflagration hazard.

Do not ignore the wood dust. Clean it up, but do not blow it off with an air gun as that simply releases and stratifies the dust — use a vacuum to collect it. Then investigate to determine the source of the dust. For example, if the ductwork is not airtight, seal joints to prevent the release of dust. When inspecting the workplace for dust accumulations, consider all flat surfaces including rectangular-shaped ductwork, overhead beams, lighting fixtures and areas such as hung or suspended ceilings.

The National Fire Protection Assn., an International Codes and Standards Organization that creates voluntary consensus standards, provides guidelines for preventing combustible dust explosions. They include:

• NFPA 61: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities. Current Edition: 2013

• NFPA 484: Standard for Combustible Metals, Current Edition: 2012

NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids, Current Edition: 2013

• NFPA 655: Standard for Prevention of Sulfur Fires and Explosions, Current Edition: 2012

• NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities, Current Edition: 2012

• And the proposed - NFPA 652: Standard on Combustible Dusts. With the first draft released last fall, this new standard will be a companion to the other combustible dust related standards. The development will take approximately three years with a proposed release date of Fall 2015.

Source: Jamison Scott is executive vice president of Air Handling Systems. With over 20 years of experience, he serves on the Technical Advisory Board for Air Pollution Control and Chairs the Industrial Dust Task Force for the WMMA. For information visit or call (203) 389-9595.

Click here to Jamison Scott's article on ComDust: What Woodworkers Need to Know


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