A recent posting by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) stated that the 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Safety publication reported 281 major dust explosions with a total of 119 deaths and 718 injuries from 1980 to 2003. These incidents were due to the combustion of accumulated dust, unsafe dust mixtures, and other similar causes. Following this report there have been at least two explosions involving casualties. One explosion occurred at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia, and another at a plastic molding plant in Kinston, North Carolina. To help prevent such industrial disasters, the NFPA is currently revising their combustible dust safety standards including NFPA-654 and NFPA-664. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that combustibility information on all dusts encountered in a workplace be accessible to employees.
It is the employer’s responsibility to determine and apply the best methods to ensure safety in the workplace. These methods should include informing employees of the different types of dust materials present and how they are controlled. Standard Tools & Equipment provides products to aid in the management of powder coating, sanding/prepping, and woodworking. Our spray booths can be used for collecting sanding/prepping wastes and powder coat overspray. We also manufacture cyclone dust collectors that can be used to control dust, chips, and shavings created in woodworking operations. The cyclone dust collectors are best suited for small-to-medium shops, or for a limited number of machines in a larger shop. Using small collectors in a large shop reduces noise and energy consumption, as well as allowing more flexibility in shop layout.