What is a Dust Explosion? | Everything You Need to Know About Combustible Dust

dust explosion

Do you work in an environment with a high risk of dust explosions?

If so, read on to learn more about this phenomenon and why it’s so dangerous, as well as how you as an employer can mitigate the risk for your workers. 

What is a Dust Explosion?

Dust explosions occur when a high concentration of fine combustible dust particles mix with oxygen in a confined space, before coming into contact with a spark, metal ember or other ignition source. Resulting in a high-pressure airwave, this process is referred to as deflagration. 

In industrial settings, as the airwave explodes out of said confined space, it’s likely to displace other deposits of combustible dust throughout your workplace. This could lead to a chain reaction of further dust explosions, skyrocketing the risk of harm to your employees

Which Industrial Processes Lead to Dust Explosions?

Common industrial processes which tend to produce combustible dust include sawing, polishing, milling, grinding, cutting, crushing and blasting. Unfortunately, a wide range of working environments and industries are therefore affected by this issue. 

Whilst dust can of course collect in plain sight, it can also gather in spaces which aren’t so visible to workers on a daily basis. 

It’s essential that proper housekeeping routines have been established to mitigate this, with the appropriate preventative equipment in place to keep your employees safe from the destructive potential of dust explosions. 

How to Prevent Dust Explosions 

First and foremost, combustible dust must be included as a factor in your risk assessments if you work in an industrial setting using any of the processes highlighted in the previous section. 

The appropriate specialist equipment to deal with combustible dust should also be provided, such as fixed or mobile dust extraction systems, in addition to any other relevant ventilation kit for your employees. 

If you’re unsure of exactly what you need, here at Dustcontrol we’d be happy to share our 50 years of industry experience with you to help you find the right solution for your business. 

Get in touch today and we can discuss how best to mitigate the risk of dust explosions in your facilities. 

Alternatively, why not have a look at our previous blog covering why dust is an occupational hazard?

Dustcontrol UK Ltd., 7 Beaufort Court , Roebuck Way Knowlhill, Milton Keynes MK5 8HL