Key Safety Issues for Combustible Dust Handling

For the past few years OSHA has been conducting focused inspections at facilities which generate or handle combustible dusts as part of a Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP). Some of these facilities were not even aware that they were handling combustible dusts and may not be familiar with the necessary safeguards to safely handle these materials. This paper will review the background for this NEP, some of the common findings, and some suggestions on how to safely deal with combustible dusts and minimize the likelihood of a citation should OSHA visit your facility.

Background for OSHA Dust NEP

In November 2006 the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) issued an Investigation Report on combustible dusts. The CSB identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that killed 119 workers and injured 718, and extensively damaged industrial facilities. This report concluded that combustible dust explosions are a serious hazard in American industry and that existing efforts inadequately address this hazard.

In response to this CSB report, OSHA issued a National Emphasis Program for Combustible Dusts in late 2007. However, after the catastrophic incident at the Imperial Sugar Refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia, the directive was reissued in March 2008ii. OSHA wanted to intensify its focus on the combustible dust hazards as a result of the Imperial Sugar explosion. This NEP applies to all facilities covered by OSHA which generate or handle combustible dusts.

To download our resources, you must become a registered site user. After you register, you will receive an email with a login username and password.

Stay Informed With Our Technical Resources

Register to receive full access to publications on chemical reactivity, combustible dust hazards, and industry safety regulations authored by the expert leadership at ioKinetic.

Register Now