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Cleaning Combustible Dust


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Combustible Dust, (or Explosive Dust), cleaning, is a required preventative good housekeeping and maintenance program, in manufacturing and production facilities. This minimizes safety hazards, potential flash fires, and catastrophic dust explosions, in addition to maintaining Indoor Air Quality. Combustible dust is fine particulate dust, which is generated from products such as wood, metals, grains, agricultural, chemicals, plastics, paper, and carbonaceous products. The manufacturing and production facilities equipment and machinery, pulverize, mill, grind, crush, macerate, and cut the bulk product. In return, dust is generated, and accumulates on all equipment and facility structure surfaces. The fine powder dust, which is suspended on the higher, inaccessible and unnoticeable surfaces, is the most problematic. Yet the most hazardous, especially when a primary upset or explosion generates a sonic pressure wave that suspends these particles into the path of a flame front (reaction front), which causes a devastating secondary dust explosion.

In addition to the fire and explosion hazards of dust, the industrial hygiene aspect of fine particles can impact and affect, the facility workers health, leading to illnesses, and injuries. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 6.1 percent of private-sector employees suffered 5.7 million workplace injuries and illnesses in 2000. Forty-six percent of those injury cases required days away from work for recuperation or restricted work activity.

J. Paul Leigh of the Stanford Medical Center notes that businesses spend $170.9 billion a year on costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses—expenditures that come straight out of company profits. Injuries and illnesses increase workers’ compensation and retraining costs, absenteeism, and production faults. They also decrease productivity, morale, and ultimately, profits.

Fortunately, statistics from injury and illness reports filed with OSHA show that workplaces that establish safety and health management systems reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent. "In today’s competitive business environment," says OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw, "the black-and-blue of workplace injuries can be the difference between operating in the black and running in the red." Reference 1 (

High ceiling and surface cleaning, Air Conveyance Cleaning, Dust collector cleaning, Conveyor Belt cleaning, Silo tank cleaning, Lab Fume Hood cleaning, and dust control vacuuming, are some of the services, that may be required to clean the combustible dust. These services help prevent airborne dust and particulates, from accumulating, in the manufacturing and production facilities. These services may also help promote equipment longevity, may decrease utility costs for operating equipment, may increase the brightness of lighting, may stabilize insurance rates, and may allow a greater Return On Investment on manufacturing equipment.

Combustible Dust cleaning should be performed by a certified and trained cleaning company. The certified training should be similar to the N.A.D.C.A., I.A.Q.A., O.S.H.A., and I.I.C.R.C. cleaning standards. Additionally, the certified cleaning contractor, should have the proper Industrial and Commercial cleaning equipment. Most importantly is an industrial, explosion-proof, dust collecting H.E.P.A. vacuum, as the main piece of equipment. Broom sweeping and compressed air, is not a viable means of cleaning combustible dust, by the NFPA 654 Combustible Dust Standard. The act of broom sweeping, and compressed air, actually stirs up dust and particulate into the air, which may create more issues with sensitive equipment that provide ignition sources, and possible dust explosions. High reach equipment, such as High reach platforms,

Scissor Lifts, Articulate Booms, Scaffolding, Fiberglas extension ladders, and Fi

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Cleaning Combustible Dust

  1. 1. Interior Maintenance Company, Inc. Jon Barrett- Business Development Specialist Phone: 267-886-7903 Email: Specialists in Industrial and Commercial Cleaning services including Combustible Dust, High Surface, HVAC Air Duct System, Dust Collector, and Lab Fume Hood System cleaning, serving the United States. Copyright 2009 Interior Maintenance Company, Inc.
  2. 2. Got Dust? Significant accumulation of particulate dust at the ceiling of production facility.
  3. 3. Show Me The Dust! Significant accumulation of dust within an HVAC duct system.
  4. 4. Initial Combustible Dust Hazards <ul><li>Manufacturing facilities need to Test/Evaluate Combustible Dust/Particulate, in all areas with the presence of dust. MSDS do not address the Combustible Dust Hazard. </li></ul><ul><li>Most manufacturing facility's Housekeeping or Custodial staff are not typically trained, nor equipped for safe cleaning procedures, proper containment, recycling, and disposal of Combustible Dust/Particulate. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Facility Awareness <ul><li>Combustible Dust must be contained at the source. </li></ul><ul><li>A simple spark from a Forklift contacting a concrete floor, could set off an explosion. </li></ul><ul><li>Static Electricity may also set off an explosion. </li></ul><ul><li>Electrical systems need to be evaluated. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Contain The Source! Accumulation of dust particulate buildup inside a filter chamber of an HVAC system.
  7. 7. Why 1/32 of an Inch of Dust? <ul><li>Any amount of Dust accumulation, on any surface or piece of equipment, acts as an insulator. </li></ul><ul><li>This added insulation of dust may cause manufacturing, electronics and other equipment to heat up and breakdown. </li></ul><ul><li>Added insulation of dust may also cause Electric and Utility costs to increase and may cause Fire Suppression Systems to fail. Is that a high Return On your Investment? </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance Companies require a clean facility and equipment to keep rates down and to ensure decreased liability from hazards. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Dust Collectors <ul><li>Dust Collectors - designed to capture dust and particulate at the source. </li></ul><ul><li>So why so much dust? </li></ul><ul><li>1) Broken or Leaking seals/gaskets </li></ul><ul><li>2) Clogged ductwork/piping </li></ul><ul><li>3) Filters and bags are clogged, torn, undersized, or “missing” </li></ul><ul><li>4) Not enough CFM pull, from exhaust fans </li></ul><ul><li>5) Preventative Maintenance Program/ Housekeeping is non-existent </li></ul>
  9. 9. Diagram of Dust Collector
  10. 10. Dust Collectors
  11. 11. HVAC Systems <ul><li>HVAC Air Conveyance Systems - designed to filter and deliver conditioned air. </li></ul><ul><li>So why so much dust in HVAC Systems? </li></ul><ul><li>1) Dust Collector and other production equipment emitting heavy concentrations of dust and particulate into the air. </li></ul><ul><li>2) Clogged ductwork/piping </li></ul><ul><li>3) Filters are clogged, undersized, not installed properly, torn or “missing” </li></ul><ul><li>4) Not enough CFM pull, from exhaust fans </li></ul><ul><li>5) Preventative Maintenance Program/ Housekeeping is non-existent </li></ul>
  12. 12. Diagram of HVAC System
  13. 13. HVAC System
  14. 14. HVAC Rooftop Unit and Ductwork
  15. 15. Lab Fume Hoods <ul><li>Lab Fume Hoods - designed to remove carbon, smoke, particulate, and vapors from lab workspaces. </li></ul><ul><li>Why decreased draw or decreased face velocity? </li></ul><ul><li>1) Dust Collector emitting heavy concentrations </li></ul><ul><li> of dust and particulate into the air </li></ul><ul><li>2) Clogged Fume Hood, ductwork/piping </li></ul><ul><li>3) Filters are clogged, undersized, or “missing” 4) Not enough CFM pull, from exhaust fans </li></ul><ul><li>5) Preventative Maintenance Program/ Housekeeping is non-existent </li></ul>
  16. 16. Diagram of Lab Fume Hood
  17. 17. Lab Fume Hood
  18. 18. Heat Exchanger <ul><li>Heat Exchanger and Portable heaters - designed to heat air in designated work area space. </li></ul><ul><li>Why so much dust on heat exchanger or not enough heat? </li></ul><ul><li>1) Dust Collector emitting heavy concentrations </li></ul><ul><li> of dust and particulate into the air </li></ul><ul><li>2) Airborne Dust in high concentrations </li></ul><ul><li>3) Improper installation of Heat Exchanger (too close to ceiling, or another surface </li></ul><ul><li>4) Preventative Maintenance Program/ Housekeeping is non-existent </li></ul>
  19. 19. Heat Exchanger
  20. 20. Health Concerns and Indoor Air Quality, with Any Dust <ul><li>Lungs and heart - become congested, decreased blood flow to body. Many types of diseases and disabilities to occur, short term and long term exposure, increase in Sick Days </li></ul><ul><li>Eyes - unsafe working conditions, may lead to accidents, increase in Sick Days </li></ul><ul><li>Fatigue - workers may decrease productivity, may lead to an accident, increase in Sick Days </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance - Increase in Workmen’s Compensation, Short term and Long term disability, Increase in Liability insurance </li></ul><ul><li>PPE - Increase use of PPE, may increases costs </li></ul>
  21. 21. Maintenance Issues With Dust <ul><li>Lighting is decreased </li></ul><ul><li>More Electric or Power is required, as a result - Utilities are increased </li></ul><ul><li>Decreased safety awareness, lower employee morale </li></ul>
  22. 22. Clean Up the Dust, and Go Home Safely!
  23. 23. About IMC <ul><li>Please contact IMC to provide a free estimate regarding any of your combustible dust cleaning needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Jon Barrett can be reached at </li></ul><ul><li>(267) 886-7903 or Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you for your time and consideration! </li></ul>