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Dust Explosions

Tim Myers, Ph.D., P.E.


Exponent, Inc.
9 Strathmore Road
Natick, MA 01760
tmyers@exponent.com
(508) 652-8572

Recent Catastrophic Dust Explosions


Year

Facility

State

Dust

Fatalities

1999

Gray Iron Casting


Foundry

Massachusetts

Phenolic Resin

Mississippi

Scrap Tire
Grindings

2002 Rubber Recycling


Facility
2003

Rubber Drug
Delivery Products

North Carolina

Polyethylene
Dust

2003

Fiberglass
Insulation Plant

Kentucky

Phenolic Resin

2003 Automotive Wheel


Foundry

Indiana

Aluminum Dust

2008

Georgia

Sugar

14

Sugar Refinery

Effect of Particle Size on


Combustion Rate

Source: After Eckhoff, Dust Explosions in the Process Industries (2003).

Elements of a Dust Explosion

Combustible dust
Small particle size
Oxidizable

Oxidizer (e.g. air)


Ignition source
Dispersion of dust
Confinement

Dust Explosions Statistics 1980 2005

281 Dust explosions


and fires
119 Fatalaties
718 Injuries
Recent dust
explosions have
caused damage
greater than $100
Million
Source: CSB Combustible Dust Hazard Study (2006).

Food

Plastic
Wood
Metal

OSHA Dust Explosion Hazard Regulations


OSHA does not currently have a comprehensive general

industry regulation for the prevention of dust explosions.


In November 2006 The CSB recommended that OSHA
develop regulations based on current NFPA standards.
In 2008 and 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives
passed the Worker Protection against Combustible Dust
Explosions and Fires Act (H.R. 5522) which would have
required OSHA to issue rules regulating combustible dusts.
April 29, 2009, OSHA announced rulemaking on
combustible dust hazards
August 2009 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
December 2009 Stakeholder meetings

OSHA Combustible Dust National Emphasis


Program

Effective October 18, 2007


Reissued March 11, 2008

Identified16 industry codes with more frequent


and/or HIGH consequence combustible dust
explosions/fires
Identified 48 industry codes that may have
potential for combustible dust explosions/fires
Outreach
Targeted inspections
NEP and other documents have listed OSHA
regulations believed to apply to dust explosions

Standards for the Prevention of Dust Fires


and Explosions
NFPA 61 Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in
Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities

NFPA 120 Standard for Fire Prevention and Control in Coal Mines
NFPA 484 Standard for Combustible Metals
NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from

the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate


Solids

NFPA 655 Standard for the Prevention of Sulfur Fires and Explosions
NFPA 664 Standard of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and
Woodworking Facilities

NFPA 850 Recommended Practice for Fire Protection for Electric

Generating Plants and High Voltage Direct Current Converter Stations

Summary
Recent catastrophic dust explosions have placed an increased
emphasis on the prevention and mitigation of dust explosions.

In response to CSB recommendations, OSHA introduced a Combustible


Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) and is now proposing
combustible dust regulations.

NFPA standards and guidelines provide guidance for the prevention and
mitigation of dust fires and explosions.

NFPA guidelines for preventing and mitigating explosions focuses on:


Housekeeping and dust collection
Removal of ignition sources
Maintenance and training
Explosion protection of equipment