Explosion Protections

Proper Combustible Dust Explosion Safety

Explosion protection from combustible dust is a challenge for many manufacturers. Our system engineers and salespeople are often asked, “Do I really need explosion protection on this new equipment?” This is a difficult question to answer because there are many factors to consider beyond just process equipment design. A comprehensive risk analysis includes determining the potential hazard and the risk of damage from an unprotected incident via a Dust Hazards Analysis (DHA) and risk assessment documents. This risk discussion allows us to understand the customer’s process for assessing and determining the threat to their facility as well as the amount of risk they are willing to accept.

HorizonPSI makes a practice of asking about explosion protection and can provide quote options for minimizing the risk of damage and injury from combustible dust events. When supplying new systems and replacing higher impact components, the options and risk level are determined by our customer and their engineers.

Todd Baker, Vice President of Engineering at HorizonPSI, is a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and has helped write many of their standards. Read below as he clarifies how the NFPA works:

“It is always important to remember that the NFPA is not an enforcement body, but an organization that develops written standards. These standards are developed/revised by committees made up of experts in the subject matter of the standard. Most of these standards are revised/issued on a three-year cycle. The most well-known and adopted example of an NFPA standard is NFPA 70 (National Electrical Code). The written standards are adopted as standards/codes for enforcement by different Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Examples of AHJ enforcement could be fire marshals, building inspectors, insurance companies and occupational safety groups. OSHA does not have a complete combustible dust guideline so they tend to reference NFPA standards as “best practice” when taking enforcement action. The end users/operators should try to identify the potential AHJs for their facility and work with them as much as possible during the design phase of projects. At a minimum the local fire marshal and the insurance carrier for the facility should be consulted. Asking a fire marshal or insurance carrier to review a new installation after the design is completed can end up requiring changes to equipment design that could have or should have been addressed earlier in the design process.”

Dust Hazards Analysis (DHA) and Risk Assessment Requirements
All combustible dust standards now include a requirement for end users to have a written DHA and risk assessment for all new processes handling combustible dust. These standards also require these documents for all existing processes handling combustible dust be completed by September 2020. The DHA identifies the potential hazards in a process, equipment and facility. The risk assessment categorizes the potential risk and severity of a combustible dust incident (damage to equipment, personnel injuries and loss of production). The Risk Assessment also identifies mitigation strategies to reduce the threat to an acceptable level. Mitigation strategies include housekeeping, training, management of change to a process, hot work permits, explosion venting and suppression, process isolation, etc. Standards also state that the level of risk specified as acceptable in the risk assessment must also be acceptable to the AHJ.

HorizonPSI is here to provide options that meet your needs. When considering a new facility, a new process line or replacement components, we can provide the solutions you need while keeping your people, products and process safe. Our business is your business.

For more information, contact Todd Baker at tbaker@horizonpsi.com or 785-856-8110.