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New Fire Fighting Precautions for Facilities With Combustible Dust

April 18, 2013 –The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) has published a new report, Firefighting Precautions at Facilities with Combustible Dust, which outlines safety procedures for fire fighters responding to emergency incidents related to combustible dust fires.

Combustible dusts are fine particles that can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in the air in certain conditions. There are many different types of combustible dusts, including metals, wood, rubber, coal, sugar, flour, plastics or paper.

Since 1980, there have been more than 300 combustible dust fires and explosions, resulting in the death of more than 130 workers and injuring 780 workers.

This OSHA publication provides fire fighters with a framework to prepare for potential combustible dust emergency incidents. Pre-incident operational preparations, such as conducting surveys of facilities where these dusts are produced or stored, and reviewing relevant Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) can inform standard operating procedures and improve fire fighter safety when responding to these incidents.

The report also includes guidelines and precautions that should be followed while working at combustible dust fires. Case studies are used to illustrate how fire fighting operations can help prevent combustible dust explosions in facilities where this hazard is present.

To download the full report, click here.

For more information about combustible dust hazards, click here.


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