Combustible Dust

Combustible Dust in the Workplace Combustible dust in the workplace can have catastrophic results.

When your work application produces dangerous by-products, it’s necessary to find safe and efficient solutions that remove these risks from the equation and allow work to carry on unabated. One by-product that is particularly dangerous is combustible dust.

What Is Combustible Dust?

Combustible dust refers to metallic or non-metallic airborne dust that is capable of causing an explosion in your work space. The determining factor on whether or not industrial dust is combustible lies in its KST value, which measures how explosive dust is when compared to other types of dust. Any reading higher than zero indicates the risk for explosion.

Dangers of Combustible Dust

Work applications that have the capacity to produce combustible dust create some of the most hazardous work conditions imaginable if the dust is not contained and removed safely.

Consequences of a serious combustible dust incident include:

  • Serious injury or death to nearby workers
  • Severe property damage
  • Irreversible environmental damage
  • Long-term business interruption

High-Risk Industries and Applications

The possibilities lead toward the catastrophic, and many companies are unaware that they have a combustible dust issue, or where in their work space this dangerous dust is settling.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, combustible dust may be a by-product of processing or handling:

  • Agricultural products like powdered milk, sugar or wood flour
  • Agricultural dust from cocoa beans, carrots, rice flour and tomato
  • Carbonaceous dusts like activated charcoal, lignite and cellulose
  • Chemical dusts like dextrose, lead stearate and sulfur
  • Metal dusts like aluminum, magnesium and zinc
  • Plastic dusts like polyethylene, acrylamide and phenolic resin


  • Metalwork
  • Chemical Processing
  • Food Processing
  • Woodwork
  • Coal Mining
  • Pharmaceutical Processing
  • Foundry
  • Rubber Processing


  • Metalwork (aluminum, magnesium, or titanium and others) – cutting, grinding, or finishing
  • Ceramics – raw product handling and enamel spray
  • Chemicals – material handling, crushing, grinding, roasters, kilns, and coolers
  • Coal mining – material handling, de-dusting, drying, air cleaning
  • Food (flour, sugar, and others) – mixing, grinding, blending, bagging, and packaging
  • Foundry – sand handling, tumbling mills, abrasive cleaning, and shakeout
  • Pharmaceutical – mixing, grinding, blending, bagging, and packaging
  • Rubber – mixing, grinding, talc dusting, de-dusting, and batch-out rolls
  • Woodwork – woodworking machines, sanding, waste conveying

Contact us today for more about how we can help.

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