As inconspicuous as dust may seem, it can be incredibly hazardous, especially in industrial and commercial facilities. Over that past decade, dust has been one of the leading causes of serious flash fires and explosions in processing facilities.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor, has recognized the hazards that dust poses and stresses the need to deal with them appropriately. As a result, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) introduced NFPA 652: the Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust.
NFPA 652 has set the standard for dust safety for the processing industry, defining what combustible dust is and how to best manage it to prevent serious safety issues.
What Is NFPA 652 Compliance? What Does It Mean for Industrial Vacuums?
NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, is a standard that was created to promote and define the hazards of dust, creating awareness and directing facilities on how to properly manage and reduce dust hazards. More specifically, it provides requirements for dust management in facilities where combustible dust fires and explosions can be an issue.
When necessary, and based upon the industry in question, NFPA 652 also directs facility owners and managers to other NFPA standards, like NFPA 61, NFPA 654, NFPA 484, NFPA 655 and NFPA 664, which are concerned with combustible dust from various commodity-specific industries.
The foundation of NFPA 652 — and the related standards — focuses on creating a safe environment where combustible dust is concerned. Specifically, this means that the fuel source — dust — is properly managed, ignition sources are controlled, and the potential for explosion is limited through proper facility design, protection, isolation and proper housekeeping. Meeting all NFPA 652 requirements earns facilities NFPA 652 Compliance.
NFPA 652 Compliance is a recognition given to facilities that have complied with the standard and met all necessary safety rules and requirements. Without meeting these requirements, facilities will fail to earn NFPA 652 Compliance. This can result in steep fines and production being stopped until all non-compliance issues are corrected.
One requirement outlined by NFPA 652 is determining the combustibility and explosivity of various materials within the facility, particularly dust. To do this, you need to conduct a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA), which is used to identify the specific combustible dust hazards associated with a process.
Once the DHA has been completed and hazards identified, facility owners and operators must take the proper steps to deal with these hazards and manage the risks posed by combustible dust. From there, owners and operators need to establish a written safety management system that enforces NFPA 652 and explains to employees how to properly handle combustible dust.
The requirements and guidelines above are meant to create safe operating facilities and equipment. By following the guidelines, you minimize the risk of serious combustible dust hazards within the facility. All working parts and equipment within the facility are required to meet these requirements to earn NFPA 652 Compliance. Even industrial vacuums, which are often overlooked, need to meet NFPA 652 compliance.
Why Is It So Important?
According to a 2007 dust hazard study conducted by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), there were nearly 280 dust fires and explosions over a 25-year period. These fires and explosions resulted in 119 worker fatalities and over 700 worker injuries.
The incidents happened in a wide range of industries that produce various types of combustible dust. While good housekeeping is an essential part of preventing dust explosions, proper facility design and engineering is also vital. This includes using the appropriate electrical and ventilation equipment, keeping this equipment in working order and covering pipes, while embedding cables into walls to prevent surface dust.
It is especially important to manage potential ignition sources — anything that can generate flames or sparks or that can create static electricity: one of the key components to combustion.
There are three main components needed for combustion: the presence of combustible dust, oxygen and a heat source. Two additional components are required for an explosion to occur: the dispersion of dust particles in a sufficient concentration and the confinement of that dust cloud.
All of this knowledge has led to new safety standards, like NFPA 652, meant to protect structures, people and products from harm. These standards are regulated and enforced by various agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA and the NFPA.
Compliance with these codes, including NFPA 652, is not optional. Failure to comply can lead to severe consequences like the facility being shut down until the standards are met, which can cause significant financial loss. In addition, facilities can be hit with substantial fines for noncompliance, which creates an additional financial burden on facility owners and operators.
Which Industries Require NFPA Certification
NFPA 652 compliance is required by any facility whose processes produce any amount of combustible dust. Major industries that fall into this category include powders, agriculture, food, pharmaceutical, pesticides, rubber, plastic, textiles, chemical, recycling, coal-fired power, wood and more.
There is a wide range of combustible dust produced by these various facilities, each posing serious risks to safety. Anything from flour dust in the food industry to epoxy dust from the chemical industry is considered dangerous, combustible dust.
What to Look for in an NFPA 652 Vacuum
Keeping a facility free from combustible dust is essential. However, doing so requires NFPA 652 compliant equipment, including an approved NFPA 652 vacuum. The standard has seven requirements that industrial vacuums have to meet to be compliant:
- Except for certain circumstances, an industrial vacuum should be made using conductive materials.
- In addition to a conductive build, the vacuum’s hose should either be conductive or static dissipative.
- All the conductive parts of the vacuum must be bonded and grounded.
- When working, dust-laden air should not pass through the fan or blower.
- For vacuums with electrical motors, the motor should not be in the dust-laden air stream, unless it is listed for Class II, Division I locations.
- There should be no paper filter elements in the vacuum for picking up liquids or other wet materials.
- In addition to meeting NFPA 652 requirements, vacuums used for metal dust must also meet NFPA 484: Standard for Combustible Metals.
HafcoVac’s NFPA 652-Certified Vacuums
Finding an NFPA 652-compliant vacuum that meets all the necessary requirements can be difficult. Fortunately, there is HafcoVac.
HafcoVac has been servicing various industrial industries for over 15 years, specializing in NFPA and OSHA-certified industrial vacuums that are made in the USA. They offer explosion- and dust ignition-proof industrial vacuums that are energy-efficient and have variable power.
Industrial Pneumatic Vacuums
HafcoVac’s industrial pneumatic vacuum is powered by compressed air rather than a motor with moving parts. For that reason, it does not require any electricity to run, which makes it easy to use in any part of the facility.
HafcoVac’s pneumatic vacuums can handle not only combustible dust waste, but dry and wet material recovery as well. Aside from being NFPA 652 compliant, this vacuum also meets NFPA compliance for standards 664, 484, 70 and 61.
It has the option of either an anti-static or static conductive hose, per NFPA requirements. These types of hoses help to ensure that any static electricity dissipates, so there is no risk of fire-causing sparks.
Another benefit to pneumatic vacuums is that they require little maintenance since there are no moving parts that need cleaning. The only maintenance workers would need to be concerned about is changing filters when necessary.
All of HafcoVac’s Explosion-Proof industrial vacuums come with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filtration system. These filters are 99.97% effective at keeping fine dust particles from entering the air, keep workplaces and the air cleaner.
Areas such as asbestos abatement, lead paint recovery, healthcare facility cleaning and pharmaceutical manufacturing require HEPA filters for their work. Additionally, food processing, mining, power generation and facilities dealing with combustible dust all should use industrial vacuums with HEPA filtration systems.
While it is already an incredibly versatile vacuum that can clean any virtually part of a facility, there are accessories that help make it an even more efficient machine for eliminating combustible dust within a facility.
Ensuring NFPA Compliance
Processing facilities must maintain a safe, dust-free facility. Dust, especially within these facilities, can cause serious safety hazards for the facility, its employees and its products. Combustible dust poses a risk of fires and explosions that can lead to injuries and even death.
To create a safe facility, you need to follow the OSHA Housekeeping Guidelines and NFPA’s Standards for safety, particularly NFPA 652. This includes using an NFPA 652-compliant vacuum, like those provided by HafcoVac. These are made to those strict standards and are rated for use with combustible dust, even in hazardous environments.
If you need an industrial vacuum, contact us today. Our representatives can answer all of your questions and provide recommendations based on your specific requirements. You can even get same-day shipping, so you can get started right away protecting both your workers and your business.