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Industrial Combustible Dust Tragedies can be Prevented


EMSL Analytical offers testing solutions to help prevent injuries and destruction due to combustible dust explosions.
Cinnaminson, NJ, February 1st, 2012
One year ago, a combustible dust explosion killed a worker at the Hoeganaes facility in Gallatin, Tennessee.  During the same year there were additional two accidents at the plant that have been linked to combustible dust resulting in several additional deaths and injuries.
The investigation found that significant amounts of fine iron powder had accumulated over time at the facility and the company did not take the necessary action steps to reduce the hazards by employing engineering controls (such as enclosing conveyors and installing properly designed dust collection equipment) and basic housekeeping. The investigation also found that Hoeganaes did not institute procedures such as combustible gas monitoring or provide training for employees on avoiding flammable gas fires and explosions.
The incidents were investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and after several months it was announced that the tragedies were preventable. The board would eventually urge the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to publish a proposed new regulatory standard regarding combustible dusts within the next year.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “Any combustible material (and some materials normally considered noncombustible) can burn rapidly when in a finely divided form. If such a dust is suspended in air in the right concentration, it can become explosive. The force from such an explosion can cause employee deaths, injuries, and destruction of entire buildings. Such incidents have killed scores of employees and injured hundreds over the past few decades.”
“There is a long list of materials that can cause explosions due to combustible dust in the workplace,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading combustible dust testing laboratory.  “These materials may include metals, as in the case in Tennessee, as well as wood, coal, plastics, biosolids, sugar, paper, soaps and some textiles.  Under certain conditions, many of these materials can result in a dust explosion if they become aerosolized and come in contact with an ignition source.”
To learn more about combustible dust testing services, please visit, call (800)220-3675 or email
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 


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