Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust
NFPA 652, “Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust” was first developed in 2016, with the goal of creating standardized requirements for combustible dust safety across industries. The original standard developed a new regulatory component, Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA), which is a process that identifies and evaluates potential risks such as fires, flash fires, and explosions associated with combustible particulate solids within a facility.
The key component of the 2019 update was setting a deadline for performing a DHA on existing processes and facilities. The 2019 update extended the deadline to September 7th, 2020, and includes new requirements for various process equipment. These new components include air moving devices (AMDs), air materials separators (AMS), sight glasses, duct systems, bulk storage enclosures, pressure protection systems, and various other types of equipment.
A DHA must be updated every five years and typically includes:
Combustible dusts are finely divided solids that present combustion and fire hazards under certain conditions. Combustible dusts can be found in most industries and come in many forms including (but not limited to):
Many natural and synthetic organic materials can form combustible dust, as do some metal dusts and compounds.
Dust explosions form when an explosive dust is present, the dust is dispersed in the atmosphere in a concentration that can burn, the atmosphere supports combustion, an ignition source is present and when containment allows a pressure wave to build. When all these conditions exist, an explosion will occur.
The United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) concluded that between 1980 and 2005, there were 281 combustible dust incidents (not including grain-related dust explosions). These killed 119 workers, injured 718 workers, and severely damaged the industrial facilities affected. OSHA’s Grain Handling Study reported that in the last 35 years there were over 500 explosions linked to grain handling dusts in the food and beverage industry alone. These resulted in 180 deaths and 675 injuries.
In addition to the primary explosion that occurs under combustible dust circumstances, secondary, or fugitive dust explosions can be equally (if not more) lethal. Fugitive dusts are created and accumulated within a facility that produces combustible dusts. It is often trapped in unnoticed places, such as overhead beams and above ceilings. During a primary explosion, fugitive dust can ignite, producing a secondary explosion, which is oftentimes more destructive.
TÜV SÜD GRC experts are licensed and experienced in Process Safety Management and DHA. We provide the most up-to-date and thorough assessments of your facility. We offer comprehensive Dust Hazard Analysis and Assessment services, from planning to completion, as well as explosion protection compliance services for international regulations. Our independent risk management services are unbundled from insurance providers, so you can be assured that the loss control inspections and services are customized to your needs, while meeting all regulatory standards.
 Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. “Combustible Dust Hazard Study, 2006-H-1”, November 2006. http://www.csb.gov/file.aspx?DocumentId=482
In a recent update to NFPA 652, a DHA will be required to be conducted for existing processes and facilities by September 2020.
Learn more about Dust Hazard Analysis and NFPA 652 compliance
Learn about these hazards and best practices on how to mitigate against risk
How an effective process safety program helps reduce risk
Learn about the technical requirements of the ATEX Directive and the IECEx Scheme.
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