Combustible dust means just what it sounds like, it’s dust that accumulates in the air to a level where it can ignite. A number of products are known to be especially volatile and therefore, especially dangerous.
It is, therefore, important to know if the products you work around are classified as potentially combustible and to know how to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and others who work around them.
Examples of combustible dusts include charcoal, corn, egg white, fertilizer,flour, powdered milk, spices, aluminum, starch, sugar, tobacco, and a lot of other substances.
Sugar, for example, is combustible but the sugar molecules burn up in a quick flash and don’t normally present a problem. The danger arises when those molecules are close enough to ignite the molecule next to it whether those molecules are floating in the air or have accumulated on surfaces in the work area. When that happens a chain explosion takes place.
To learn more read the recently released OSHA Fact Sheet to help inform on the dangers of combustible dust.