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NFPA 652:2016, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, requires that a safety management system (SMS) address the hazards of combustible dusts. The management system must address topics such as employee participation; hazard analysis; operating procedures; inspection, testing, and maintenance; emergency planning and response; incident investigation; and management of change. The topics covered by the SMS are similar to those covered by OSHA’s process safety management (PSM) standard. These requirements are supported by NFPA 654:2017, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids.

NFPA 652 applies to facilities that manufacture, process, blend, convey, repackage, generate, or handle combustible particulate solids where the materials present a fire, flash fire, or explosion hazard. Industries that handle combustible dusts include:

  • Agriculture
  • Chemicals
  • Coal dust in coal handling and processing facilities
  • Food products
  • Forest and furniture products (wood processing and woodworking)
  • Metal processing
  • Paper products
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Recycling operations (metal, paper, and plastic)
  • Textiles
  • Tire and rubber manufacturing plants
  • Wastewater treatment

A wide variety of materials can be explosible in dust form including food items (e.g. candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed), grain, tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, rubber, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, and metals (e.g., aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc).

A SMS specifies policies and procedures to address elements in a hazards management program. It includes requirements for documentation, auditing, and management review of the program and the SMS. It addresses safety culture and performance metrics. Responsibilities are assigned, actions are tracked, and performance outcomes are evaluated.

Why address dust hazards management?

  • Industry standards and government regulations around the world all advocate the use of safety management systems to address hazards in the workplace.
  • Combustible dust explosions can kill and injure people and destroy entire buildings. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that led to the deaths of 119 workers, injured 718, and extensively damaged numerous industrial facilities.
  • NFPA standards require that a safety management system be established for dust deflagration hazards.
  • Combustible dust hazards have the attention of regulators. Numerous mandatory OSHA standards include provisions that address combustible dust hazards. Some are industry-wide and others are industry-specific. Also, OSHA has implemented a Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program, CPL 03-00-008.
  • Ultimately, OSHA has the authority to regulate combustible dust hazards under the General Duty Clause that requires employers to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. A SMS for combustible dust hazards is essential for their proper management.

Why Primatech?

  • Primatech has developed many safety management systems for clients in a variety of industries as well as programs for individual SMS elements such as operating procedures and management of change.
  • Primatech teaches training courses on all aspects of safety management systems.
  • Primatech has developed a variety of computer software programs to assist with the implementation of safety management systems.

Services Offered

  • Development of new safety management systems.

    Typically, this is done for new facilities or expanded facilities. We provide documentation for all elements of the program and usually assist in their implementation.
  • Improvement of existing safety management systems.

    We conduct an initial assessment of the existing safety management system to identify areas for improvement. Sometimes companies may have a sound safety management system design but may be struggling with implementing it. We document the assessment and work to help improve weaker parts of the safety management system.
  • Improvement of specific safety management system elements.

    We help companies fine tune specific elements of a safety management system such as operating procedures; inspection, testing, and maintenance; and management of change. We provide documentation of the work performed.