Dust Combustion: Will Your Shop Explode?

A collection of useful links about the risk of woodshop dust fires or explosions, and about preventive measures. June 15, 2014

From The Staff at WOODWEB:
Will the dust in my shop explode? This is a question you may have asked yourself since the issue of combustible dust arose last year. Recently, Jamison (Jamie) Scott, from Air Handling Systems was in touch with WOODWEB and sent us information on a number of resources that offer insight regarding combustible dust and woodworking shops. This issue will continue to evolve while a proposed standard is being developed. Jamie (who is chairman of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America’s Combustible Dust Task Force) provided the links below to help keep participants at WOODWEB informed.

Identifying and Managing Combustible Dust (PDF format) http://airhand.web.nrgdev.com/downloads/Wood_and_Wood_Combustible_Dust_Article_Feb_2010.pdf

OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting

Regulations and Standards Status Report

Combustible Dust PowerPoint (PowerPoint format) http://airhand.web.nrgdev.com/downloads/Dollars_Sense_going_green.ppt

Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF format) http://airhand.web.nrgdev.com/downloads/WMMA_Combustible_Dust_Comments.pdf

OSHA Combustible Dust Docket Folder

OSHA on Combustible Dust


Manufacturers Concerns

NFPA Standard on Explosion Protection

NFPA Standard for Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions

Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Facilities http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=664

US Chemical Safety Board

Imperial Sugar Company Dust Explosion and Fire

FM Global Insurance Company

Combustible Dust Policy Institute

Linkedin - The Combustible Dust Forum

Building Code Reference Library

WMMA Industrial Dust and Wood Dust

Forum Responses
(Dust Collection and Safety Equipment Forum)
From Contributor J:
Possible – yes. Probable – no. The big question is are you in compliance with current NFPA guidelines? Congress is busy playing badminton with bigger issues right now. This started out as an Occupational Safety Issue and is steadily becoming an Environmental Issue.

The questions everyone should ask themselves are:

1. How do I prioritize dust issues (Worker Safety, Plant Safety, Removal Cost, Potential Fines etc.)?

2. Where do I fit in today's guidelines (nationally and locally)? National Rules are governed by local fire departments, building departments and OSHA regional offices. Are you in compliance today?

3. Does my business draw attention? What does the outside of your building, your neighbors, say about the inside of your building? Do they have a legitimate reason to look inside?

Utilize what you have, improve what you can and if you show respect for your local authorities and neighbors, this should not be an issue that will cause great pain. Dust Collection is a necessary evil you create it in the process of creating greater things. There isn't the same joy in purchasing dust collection equipment as there is in a fancy new CNC. Be a good neighbor and be good to your machines. The latter will make you money and the former will save you money in the long run.