What do I need to know about NFPA regulations?

Fire protection regulations are a complex and ever-changing set of rules that differ from facility to facility, so there is no general rule that can be provided for all customers, but a list of Best Practices has been developed.

There are three regulatory bodies that impact the specific code applicable to your facility – the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an international non-profit organization that develops and publishes fire protection codes and standards to which businesses are held), your AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction - the organization responsible for enforcing the codes and standards set by the NFPA), and your insurance company.

Best practices for dust collection fire safety

  1. Consult your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) for guidance and compliance with local codes and regulations.
  2. Follow all equipment Owner’s Manuals and preventive maintenance instructions.
  3. Keep ABC-type fire extinguishers on hand. Make sure they are properly charged and inspected, and personnel are trained in their use.
  4. Don’t smoke around combustible materials, including dust.
  5. Follow good housekeeping practices to prevent buildup of combustible dust. Floor sweeps and other dust collection devices can facilitate this.
  6. Empty dust collectors regularly (at least daily) and check often for possible smoldering material.
  7. Keep all exits and means of egress clear.
  8. Keep dust collectors at least 20 feet from any possible exits, from other collectors, and from areas routinely occupied by personnel.
  9. Keep possible ignition sources away from combustible dust. Sources include electrostatic discharge, electric current arc, glowing embers, hot surfaces, welding slag, frictional heat, and flames.
  10. Don’t use dust collection systems to collect possible ignition sources.
  11. Don’t use dust collection systems to collect combustible gases, vapors, or hybrid mixtures (mixture of flammable gas with combustible dust).
  12. Keep an eye out for metal inclusions (tramp metal) when working with wood to prevent possible ignition sources from being introduced into the dust collection system.
  13. Don’t overload woodworking equipment, especially sanders. Excessive friction or heat may ignite dust.
  14. Any collection hoods should be made of non-combustible material unless protected by automatic sprinklers.
  15. Use metal ductwork whenever possible. Per NFPA, PVC should not be used for dust collection.
  16. Ensure ductwork can be cleaned out, particularly when working with resinous woods (southern yellow pine, spruce, fir) that can produce dust that adheres to ductwork.
  17. Keep dust from building up on hot surfaces. For frequently cleaned surfaces, keep temperatures below 500°F. For infrequently cleaned surfaces, keep temperatures below 212°F.
  18. Keep equipment grounded to prevent the buildup of static electricity.
  19. Any dust collection duct that may possibly contain an ignition source (ember, spark, hot metals, etc.) should be equipped with a spark detection and extinguishing system. This should be located upstream from the dust collector, but downstream from any collection points.

Source: Oneida Air Systems. For more information, call 800-732-4065 or visit Oneida-air.com.


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