The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) released their new standard in September 2015. NFPA 652: Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust sets out to create widespread understanding of where the dangers may be in your plant, and how to prevent them.
Three fundamental principals
NFPA 652 promotes awareness of the three following fundamental principles:
- Controlling the fuel
- Controlling the ignition sources
- Limiting the spread of any combustion event
Reducing the number of factors from the dust explosion pentagon, should prevent explosions from happening.
If an explosion does still happen, installing the proper equipment will reduce the effects of an explosion.
What commodity-specific codes are covered?
The standard overlaps with some of the existing commodity specific standards as well as some explosion prevention standards.
Here’s what NFPA 652 points towards:
- NFPA 484: Standard for Combustible Metals
- NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities
- NFPA 655: Standard for Prevention of Sulfur Fires and Explosions
- NFPA 61: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities
- NFPA 654: Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids
- NFPA 67: Guide on Explosion Protection for Gaseous Mixtures in Pipe Systems
- NFPA 68: Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting
- NFPA 69: Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems
The NFPA has also released new electronic 2017 editions of NFPA 61 and 664.
When commodity specific NFPA standards prohibit a new requirement set out in NFPA 652, you should follow the pre-existing prohibitive rule in the commodity-specific standard.
Techniques for your Dust Hazard Analysis
NFPA 652 mandates a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) for all new and existing facilities that handle, generate, store or process combustible dusts and powders. For existing facilities, DHA’s should be done within three years of the standard’s release (September 7, 2015).
The DHA determines what the risks are of a potential fire or explosion based on the type of combustible dust or particulate solid in the facility and its processes.
DHAs also define ways to prevent or mitigate dust hazards and accidents, and gives recommendations for training those involved about their workplace hazards.
There are several testing methods that you can apply for your DHA:
- Hazard Operability Analysis (HAZOP)
- Checklist Analysis
- Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA)
- Layers of Protection Analysis
- United Nations: Transport of Dangerous Goods Manual of Tests & Criteria—Test method for Readily Combustible Solids
- ASTEM E1226: Standard Test Method for Explosibility of Dust Clouds
- ASTM E1515: Standard Test method for Minimum Explosible Concentration of Combustible Dusts
For more information about NFPA 652, read this month’s blog here.
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