“Dust” is not exactly a term that strikes fear into the hearts of many. Perhaps more so an everyday annoyance to most, dust can actually pose a significant threat in the industrial setting. Whether your facility handles products in powdered form like: egg whites, soy, flour, NFDM, corn meal, malted hops, or numerous other products and materials, combustible dust explosions could be a potentially life-threatening hazard (“Combustible Dust”). Though by no means a recent problem, awareness about combustible dust has become more pronounced since a 2008 explosion in a Georgia sugar refinery claimed the lives of fourteen people. This renewed focus on combustible dust has been the concern of OSHA, media outlets, and facility managers alike.
The combination of combustible dust, an ignition source, and oxygen is enough to trigger a fire. Add to that a concentration of particles and confinement of a dust cloud, and a catastrophic explosion can occur (“Combustible Dust in Industry”). Plant managers can refer to OSHA’s site: http://www.osha.gov/dsg/combustibledust/index.html for information on preventing a combustible dust tragedy, and for information on standards that are meant to ensure worker and facility safety.
Nelson-Jameson offers several Nilfisk-Advance vacuum models that are explosion-proof. Explosion-proof models are grounded throughout and made of non-sparking materials. These vacuums meet OSHA standards and are an effective, practical way to start assuring the safety of your workers and facility when it comes to dust, along with keeping your plant clean.
The first step to preventing dust explosions is to make sure that you have the right equipment to do the job. Nelson-Jameson recommends taking a look at your current dust cleaning methods to see if you are equipped for the conditions and products that your company handles. Feel free to talk with one of our specialists if you have any questions or need help in identifying a vacuum that fits the needs and safety standards of your company.