I have received quite a few e-mails and phone calls asking about NFPA 652: Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, 2016 Edition and what it means to those it applies to.  This article will try and break down the basic requirements which can be put into four (4) categories.  PLEASE NOTE, this article assumes that you already KNOW YOUR DUST is COMBUSTIBLE.

In case you missed it, NFPA published their new COM DUST standard last month.  This FIRST edition of NFPA 652, Standard on Combustible Dusts (link to free access), was issued by the Standards Council on August 18, 2015, with an effective date of September 7, 2015.  NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, provides the general requirements for management of combustible dust fire and explosion hazards and directs the user to NFPA’s industry- or commodity-specific standards, as appropriate:

WARNING - this video shows the ignition of the dust cloud and people within the dust cloud on fire and trying to escape.  The sights and sounds of this video ARE VERY GRAPHIC in nature, but shows the hazards of Corn Starch and its ease to ignite. 

Corn Starch has one of the lowest MIE's in the Combustible Dust family.  We do not yet know the ignition source, but a high wattage concert light bulb or a lit cigarette would be enough to ignite this cloud of corn starch.

As you watch this video, remember the five (5) things that have to be present for a COM DUST incident:

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) completed a study of combustible dust hazards in late 2006, which identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that killed 119 workers and injured another 718.  Based on these findings, the CSB recommended OSHA pursue a rulemaking on this issue. OSHA has previously addressed aspects of this risk. For example, on July 31, 2005, OSHA published the Safety and Health Information Bulletin, ‘‘Combustible Dust in Industry: Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Fire and Explosions.’’ Additionally, OSHA implemented a Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) on March 11, 2008, launched a new Web page, and issued several other guidance documents. However, the Agency does not have a comprehensive standard that addresses combustible dust hazards. OSHA will use the information gathered from the NEP to assist in the development of this rule.

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance in calculating the levels of dust accumulations that may be allowed at workplaces for combustible dusts with bulk densities less than 75 lb/ft3.  The guidance provided in this memorandum supplements the dust accumulation guidance provided in several sections of CPL 03-00-008, Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (Reissued), including IX.E.3.c and d; IX.E.8; and IX.E.9.c and d.

Several sections of CPL 03-00-008, Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (Reissued), reference 1/32 inch dust accumulation levels. This accumulation thickness is based on certain assumptions, including uniformity of the dust layer covering the surfaces and a bulk density of 75 lb/ ft3 of the material.  NFPA 654 (2013) allows the dust accumulation level to exceed the layer depth criteria of 1/32 inch according to the following equation for materials with bulk density less than 75 lb/ft3:

  1. OSHA memo Evaluating Hazardous Levels of Accumulation Depth for Combustible Dusts (4/21/15)
  2. Ohio Combustible Dust Rule (1301:7-7-13 Combustible dust-producing operations)
  3. Poor Design and Failure to Test Dust Collection System Among Causes of Flash Fire that Burned Seven Workers in 2012 (CSB)
  4. Storage Practices: Grain Elevator Explosions (USFA)
  5. UPDATE: "Evidence suggests blast caused International Nutrition accident" as reported by Omaha Herald
  6. Dust Explosion or Collapse leading to explosion
  7. Preliminary First Draft Proposed 2015 Edition NFPA 652
  8. Grain bin explosion caught on camera
  9. Coal Dust Explosion during controlled blast (video)
  10. Flour Explosion Demo (Discovery Channel)
  11. Coal Dust Explosion Demo by FM Global
  12. COMBUSTIBLE DUST Producing Processes (Ontario Fire Code Illustrated Commentary)
  13. “Worker Protection against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act of 2013” (H.R. 691)
  14. Dust explosions in the food industry
  15. CSB - Iron in the Fire (Com Dust Fatality Investigation)
  16. Difference of Airborne dusts vs. pile of dusts
  17. Combustible metal dust testing (Video)
  18. 60 Minutes Special on Combustible Dusts Issues
  19. Dust Collector / Bag House Dust Explosion (VIDEO)
  20. CSB Imperial Sugar Accident Animation Video
  21. Inferno: Dust Explosion at Imperial Sugar
  22. Combustible Dust: An Insidious Hazard
  23. Mythbusters - Creamer Cannon (Video)
  24. Saw Dust Explosion (Video)
  25. Dust Explosion created from 12lbs of material
  26. MSHA coal dust explosion demonstration
  27. Dust explosion in closed vessel (Video)
  28. Grain Dust Explosion threw Kevin Saunders 300 feet killed 10 (Video)
  29. Grain Dust Explosion Simulator (Video)
  30. How Dust Explodes (Video)
  31. How Much dust is too much?
  32. Hazardous Materials: Dust Collection Explosion Vents
  33. Interesting EU Dust Explosion Stats
  34. NFPA's Dust Standard 654 is REVISED for the 2011 edition
View 's profile on LinkedIn

  LinkedIn Group Button



 ASSE 2016

I am presenting at the


ASSE National Conference

Line Break and Process Opening

Best Practices

Session 720 on 6/29/16

7:45 - 9:00 a.m.


 kmcllaw logo

an unpaid endorsement



an unpaid endorsement


kemkey logo

an unpaid endorsement

safteng man copy






Safteng.net website reputation