What is Combustible Dust?

Employees working in almost any industrial and manufacturing facility are going to be, at some point in time, exposed to dust and other air contaminants.

Combustible Dust: An Explosion Hazard

Often times, workers will be exposed to combustible dust if they are taking part in industrial processes, such as, cutting, blasting, mixing, screening or blasting dry materials. Workers can also come into contact with dust and other air pollutants if they transport, process, handle, grind, shape, or polish a variety of raw materials as part of the manufacturing process. Poor working procedures can sometimes stir dust in the air and a simple spark from the welding rod or hot machinery can be enough to ignite an explosion.

Types of Combustible Dust

Contrary to popular belief, the formation of combustible dust is not only limited to metal working facilities. The following are some examples of combustible dust:

  • Wood dust
  • Coal and carbon dust
  • Biosolids
  • Textile materials
  • Organic dust (e.g.: paper, soap, sugar, flour)
  • Plastic dust
  • Aluminum and magnesium
  • (See below for extensive list)

Business owners in the manufacturing and processing industry need to realize that if they are handling any one of these materials they might have a possible combustible dust problem on their hands.

Most of the organic materials used in industrial processes such as wood, sugar, and grains are combustible. Other small dust particles generated in the pharmaceutical, textile, rubber, plastic and some metals processing are also combustible.

How to Reduce the Risk?

Reducing the amount of dust in your facility is going to be the single most important factor to preventing any fires that normally occur in a dust-generating environment.

Effective dust control using high quality dust filtration systems can easily eradicate dust from the air so the harmful dust is not inhaled by any of the workers, or is ignited. The first step to protecting your facility from the dangers of combustible dust is by carrying out an assessment of the facility to determine if there is in fact any combustible dust present at the facility.

Combustible dusts can fuel a flash fire or explosion when dispersed in a dust cloud.

The next step will be to determine if the dust in your facility is being handled or processed appropriately, or are there any processes in place that could potentially lead to exploding the combustible dust. Every facility is unique and has its own requirements, but there are some structural elements that also lead to dust combustion, such as, suspended ceilings, rafters, ducts, horizontal surfaces, processing and transferring equipment. Once you have determined that combustible dust is an issue in your facility then it’s time to work on the safety measures that could save your worker’s your facility and possibly, your life.

Using a Dust Filtration System

By far, the best and most efficient way of dealing with combustible dust at manufacturing and processing industries is by using a dust filtration system. Using a dust filtration system can easily improve the health and safety of all those who are working in a manufacturing or processing facility, leading to an increase in productivity and better product quality. It also ensures that a facility is able to meet the compliance regulations that have been set by the government.

Dust combustion is preventable. So, are you making proactive decision? Visit our website to find out more on our lineup of premium quality dust filtration systems that have been designed to clear contaminated air, dust and other harmful particles from your facility.

Potentially Combustible Dusts

  • charcoal
  • coal
  • lampblack
  • lignite
  • aluminum
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • titanium
  • zirconium
  • epoxy resin
  • melamine
  • phenolic resin
  • polyethylene
  • polypropylene
  • soap
  • sulfur

  • cellulose
  • corn
  • egg white
  • fertilizer
  • flour
  • powdered milk
  • soy flour
  • spices
  • starch
  • sugar
  • tobacco
  • wood dust
  • biosolids
  • dyes
  • pharmaceuticals
  • rubber

Some Dusts are Not Combustible

Certain materials in their pure chemical state will not form combustible dust, including:

  • cement
  • gypsum
  • limestone
  • sand
  • salt