The Hazards of Combustible Dust
Many industrial practices result in the creation of a byproduct known as combustible dust. This comes from a wide range of operations and industries- sand handling in foundries, grinding operations in metalworking, even waste conveying in woodwork can result in the production of combustible dust. While the idea of dust might seem like nothing to worry about, combustible dust poses an alarming risk to workplace safety. What defines combustible dust is its ability to cause an explosion when exposed to any form of ignition, regardless of its physical or chemical composition. This means that charcoal, aluminum, some resins, and even powdered milk can be considered forms of combustible dust. A combustible dust’s risk factor is measured by a value called KST: any form of dust that has a KST greater than zero is considered to pose a risk for explosion. The ignition of combustible dust is sadly not unheard of, and has proven to cause significant destruction of workplaces, lead directly to worker injury, and has even taken lives. It is not an issue to be understated or overlooked by any means.