Combustible Dust Hazard Pentagon


Find out if you need a DHA


Why You Need a Dust Hazard Analysis?

Combustible Dust is a concern for all industries; A Dust Hazard Analysis is integral to determining combustible dust hazards present in your facility and can help shape a plan, create processes, and develop procedures to mitigate catastrophic explosions.

There is a growing feeling of inevitability amongst business owners and local firefighters that  combustible dust related fires are just "the nature of the industry" until a catastrophic fire or explosion occurs.


Who Needs a Dust Hazard Analysis?

Virtually all industries where dust is created requires a dust hazard analysis. Facilities where small fires are routinely put out by employees or local firefighters have been called to the scene to deal with a small fire are at greater risk to have a catastrophic explosion.

Any upgraded or new processes added to your facility must have a Dust Hazard Analysis within 3 years to comply with the NFPA 652, 2016 Edition Standard.(see below)

NFPA 652

The NFPA 652 Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, 2016 Edition, has been in effect since July of 2015. This standard promotes awareness of hazardous dust and defines hazard analysis, management and mitigation. NFPA 652 introduced the concept of a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) as an adjunct to other forms of process hazard analysis.

The NFPA 652 standard applies retroactively to all facilities. Any upgrades or new installations must perform a DHA within 3 years to comply with this standard.

Industries & Materials Most at Risk for Dust Explosions

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOSH), industries where combustible dust poses a greater risk are:

• Grain elevators,
• Food production,
• Chemical manufacturing (e.g. , rubber, plastics, pharmaceuticals),
• Woodworking facilities,
• Metal processing (e.g. , zinc, magnesium, aluminum, iron),
• Recycling facilities (e.g. , paper, plastics, metals) and
• Coal-fired power plants.

And industries using these materials pose a greater risk:

• agricultural products such as egg whites, powdered milk, cornstarch, sugar, flour, grain, potato, rice, etc.
• metals such as aluminum, bronze, magnesium, zinc, etc.
• chemical dusts such as coal, sulphur, etc.
• pharmaceuticals
• pesticides
• rubber
• wood
• textiles
• plastics

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created a poster outlining the materials that pose the greatest risk

OSHA Combustible Dust Information Poster

OSHA Combustible Dust Poster


What a Dust Hazard Analysis can Tell You

On-site Dust Hazard Analysis

A Combustible Dust Hazard Analysis or Assessment (DHA) is a comprehensive look at your dust within the complete framework of your workplace, its operations and equipment. It can help in the determination of both explosion severity and ignition sensitivity. it can determine and characterize hazard risks of dust in the framework of your facility and help in developing a mitigation strategy for any potentially hazardous, explosive or combustible dusts.

If it is determined a potential dust-hazard threat exists, then the next step would be a Go/No-Go Test as outlined below.

Learn More about on-site dust hazard assessments

Go/No-Go Test

The Go/No-Go test is a simple cost effective test that screens for the possibility of of dust explosibility in your facility. This test can also tell you the minimum temperature at which your dust layer will ignite. I.e. Minimum Autoignition Temperature (MIT) of a dust cloud in the air.

If the Go/No-Go Test is a "Go" i.e. your dust is combustible, then further Combustible Dust Testing can be done as outlined below.

Learn more about a Go/No-Go Test

Further Combustible Dust Testing

To truly understand the risks a combustible dust poses to your workers and facility, a series of tests can be performed to determine the best ways to mitigate possible disastrous complications of a dust explosion. These tests include explosivity,  explosion severity, ignition sensitivity and more.

Learn more about further combustible dust testing