Facility Dust Hazard Assessment
The vast majority of natural and synthetic organic materials, as well as some metals, can form combustible dust.
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The NFPA’s Industrial Fire Hazards Handbook states, “any industrial process that reduces a combustible material and some normally noncombustible materials to a finely divided state presents a potential for a serious fire or explosion.” Use the Facility Dust Hazard Assessment mobile app to evaluate natural and synthetic organic materials that can form combustible dusts. Dust is defined as “solid particles generated by handling, crushing, grinding, rapid impact, detonation, and decrepitation of organic or inorganic materials, such as rock, ore, metal, coal, wood, and grain.”1 A wide range of particle sizes is produced during a dust-generating process. Particles that are too large to remain airborne settle out, while the smallest ones remain suspended in air indefinitely. Dusts are measured in micrometers (commonly known as microns or μm). The micrometer is a unit of length equal to 10-4 (0.0001) centimeter or approximately 1/25,000 of an inch. Red blood cells are 8 μm (0.0008 cm) in size; human hair is 50–75 μm in diameter and cotton fiber, 15–30 μm.
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