Dust Control Saves Lives and the Environment

Dust Control Saves Lives and the Environment

In Dust Control, Environment, Industrial Facilities by Bob Vitale

While household dust is a subtle annoyance in our lives, combustible dust is an unhealthy disturbance that can pose serious dangers. Dust control solutions from Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. are not only highly effective, but are also tailored to every client’s specific needs.

Combustible dust generated by recycling operations and industrial plants can both create health issues and pose more immediate threats to worker safety. Fires ignited by combustible dust and asthma attacks are just two examples that come to mind.

However, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc., a company with more than four decades of experience in this field, can help prevent the potentially harmful dangers of combustible dust. Midwest not only sells award-winning products and systems, but creates strategic solutions to help each specific client prevent or eliminate combustible dust.

Production Is Problematic

In an article for BioMass Magazine, Katie Fletcher reports on claims of the pellet-making industry’s mass production of combustible dust. As she explains, the manufacturing of wood pellets at large industrial plants regularly generates too much flammable dust.

To help curb the problem, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stepped in a decade ago to regulate and define what companies could and should do to keep workers and civilians safe.

Fletcher writes that OSHA will be moving forward with a definition of combustible dust as “fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air in certain conditions.”

Not Just an American Issue

While the combustible dust problem may seem specific to the United States, Fletcher reports that organizations all around the world are stepping up to regulate combustible dust on the global stage.

To name one prominent example, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has begun composing global criteria with which companies should approach their dust problems. The organization’s areas of interest include “prevention, detection, suppression and management of fires and explosions…safe handling and storage, analysis of spontaneous heat generation, and analysis of off-gassing products.”

With prominent and influential groups such as the ISO weighing in on the problems posed by combustible dust, we’re seeing the global community taking this major safety issue seriously.

The Cause of Danger

Dust does not just explode out of nowhere; it needs a trigger to set it off. Many biological elements factor into how combustible dust creates fires and explosions. The likelihood of an explosion depends largely on the dust’s volatility, which in turn depends on such factors as its size and shape and the surrounding area’s level of moisture.

The National Fire Protection Association says that the better we all understand combustible dust and its associated risks, the less likely explosions and fires are to occur. It’s important to note that the NFPA also states that pellet producers have effectively complied with regulations and accepted further education regarding combustible dust.

Education and Prevention

The most important part of hazard prevention is, in fact, education. And this instruction shouldn’t extend merely to executives and middle management, but also to on-the-ground employees so that they remain aware of the immediate dangers of combustible dust.

Effective building and equipment design can also help prevent dangers. Companies should be careful to keep plants clean and organized, choose equipment that won’t leak, and design buildings that safely contain their products.

On a similar note, equipment manufacturers should also understand the causes of dust combustion and relevant prevention tactics so that they can create products that will combat the problem, rather than worsen it.

And although combustible dust represents a serious issue, it’s also one that’s being steadily resolved with the work of companies such as Midwest. With the most reliable and personable dust control solutions in the nation, Midwest offers both strategic planning and a wide range of effective products to combat the dangers of dust.

(Image credit: Christ Smart/flickr)

Bob is founder and CEO of Midwest Industrial Supply.