Combustible Dust – Digging Through the Confusion to Manage the Risks

JF Ahern Project

Bringing Some Clarity to the Situation

If you have dealt with a Combustible Dust hazard in your facility, you are aware of the many National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes involved in your attempt to find the proper resolution to Reducing Your Risks. Currently, when you dive into combustible dusts, you must dig through the code sections of 61 for Agriculture and Food Processing Facilities, 484 for Combustible Metals, 654 for General Manufacturing & Processing, 655 for Facilities Dealing with Sulfur and/or 664 for Facilities Dealing with Wood Processing and Woodworking. What confused people the most about these codes was the relationship and hierarchy between the various standards across industries, processes and dust types. After you make your way through those, you must then dig into 68 for Deflagration Venting and 69 for Explosion Prevention Systems for your required solution.

A New Code Emerges

Beginning in 2012, an NFPA committee was tasked with developing a new correlating standard, now known as NFPA 652, as well as review the revisions of NFPA 61, 654 and 664 to bring consistency to those standards are they come up for their respective review cycles. NFPA 652, Standard on Combustible Dusts, will be brought to the NFPA Conference Floor for a final vote of approval in June 2015.

The Intent of this New Code

This new code is written to provide the “basic principles of and requirements for identifying and managing the fire and explosion hazards of combustible dusts and particulate solids. It is to provide the minimum general requirements necessary to manage the fire, flash fire and explosion hazards and directs the user to other NFPA standards for industry and commodity specific requirements”

For further review of this pending new code, you can go to the NFPA web site via this link. NFPA 652 2nd Draft

If you need any assistance with your Combustible Dust Risk Reduction Resolution, feel free to reach out to us here at Ahern. One of our experts will schedule a time to review your situation.