What Is Combustible Dust & Why Is It Dangerous?

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What Is Combustible Dust & Why Is It Dangerous?

Some workplace hazards are more difficult to detect than others. The materials at industrial worksites often break down into smaller components and particles that present safety and health issues. Understanding what combustible dust is and why it’s dangerous gives workers a chance to protect themselves on-site.


One of the biggest dangers of combustible dust is the potential for explosion. Small bits of matter can gather in high concentrations, making the released energy much more potent. Once oxygen gets into the mix, the particulates need only a tiny spark or ember to ignite.

Manufacturers should clearly understand which airborne materials pose hazards. Regular cleaning will help to reduce the volume to a more manageable level. Regular air quality testing and inspections are essential to ensure worker safety.

Flash Fire

Flash fires are other common problems caused by combustible dust. While they’re not as immediately dangerous as explosions, flash fires can cause severe injury and death if not taken seriously. Fires can ignite even if the combustible dust isn’t dense enough to cause an explosion, making it a more immediate threat.

Training workers in safety practices will ensure they know what to do during a flash fire. Sounding an alarm and waiting in a safe place should be priorities. Workers should also be equipped with adequate PPE (personal protective equipment). Insulated FR coveralls are the best protection against burns.

Negative Health Effects

Even if combustible dust never catches fire, it still poses a serious risk to workers not equipped to deal with it. The presence of particles in the air from plastics, metals, and other manufactured materials can cause cancer and various types of lung disease.

Operators at industrial worksites with combustible dust should always wear respirators to protect their health. Owners or managers of manufacturing businesses should take the time to inspect the levels of combustible dust in the air by implementing quality control methods and modern technologies.

Avoiding the Ill Effects of Combustible Dust

Whether you’re an employer or employee, the presence of combustible dust can create a real hazard on site. Making an effort to reduce the presence of particulates in the air is essential for creating a safe workplace. Learning about the nature of combustible dust and why it’s dangerous will help you keep your workers safe while improving productivity.

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