A memo published on the OSHA website on Dec. 31, 2013 finally makes some progress on the issue of combustible dust hazards. We’ve talked about this a lot on this blog (just do a search for “combustible dust” to follow all the posts, especially those that relate to the accusations from the Chemical Safety Board about OSHA’s dragging their feet).
The memo attends to classify products to find out if they have the potential to fall in the combustible dust hazard category.
It lists three different ways to attempt to classify products:
1. Lab Tests – If available, lab tests should clearly identify potential combustible dusts
2. Published test results – NFPA and OSHA have already published a list of substances that may pose a hazard (https://www.osha.gov/Publications/combustibledustposter.pdf)
3. Particle Size – Any substance with a particle size of 420 microns or less.
While this is not the final word, or even a full-fledged standard, it does give inspectors and safety officers something to go on to help identify potential problems and take steps to keep an explosion from happening.