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Get Tough on Dangerous Dust

Here is an example of workplace dirt that is downright dangerous is combustible dust. If not properly managed, combustible dust can explode. Accidents of this type have reported killed 1,000 workers over the last 30 years.

Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air in certain conditions. When some types of dust—sugar, fertilizer, and certain powdered metals, for example—collect in sufficient quantity and concentrations, rapid combustion can occur. If this happens in an enclosure like a building, the pressure can cause a catastrophic explosion.

Other Best Practices

Additional practices to prevent buildup of combustlble dust include:

  • Using proper dust collection systems and filters.
  • Minimizing the escape of dust from process equipment or ventilating systems.
  • Using surfaces that minimize dust accumulation and facilitate cleaning.
  • Regularly inspecting for dust residues in open and hidden areas.
  • Using cleaning methods that do not generate dust clouds if ignition sources are present.
  • Using only vacuum cleaners approved for dust collection.
  • Locating relieve valves away from dust deposits.

And Don't Forget About Training

One of the best ways to ensure a safer workplace is to train employees to work more safely. Whether it's housekeeping practices to eliminate safety and health hazards or other key issues, a well-trained workforce means a safer workplace.