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Workers Still Exposed to Combustible Dust Hazards


EMSL Analytical offers testing solutions to help prevent combustible dust explosions.
Cinnaminson, NJ, January 2nd, 2012
An explosion last month at a Shanghai factory producing parts for Apple injured 61 employees.  The explosion is believed to have been caused by a build-up of combustible aluminum dust.
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.  They include metals, wood, coal, plastics, biosolids, sugar, paper, soaps and some textiles.  Under the right conditions, they can result in a dust explosion.  This occurs in an enclosed space when dust particles suspended in the air results in a rapid combustion.
Many people don’t realize that an open flame is not necessary to spark a dust explosion.  Common sources of ignition include electrostatic discharges, friction, arcing and even overheated surfaces.
“There are a number of materials that are commonly used in industry that can result in a combustible dust explosion,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading combustible dust testing laboratory.  “Numerous materials that are known to oxidize can generate a dust explosion as well as materials used in manufacturing that already come in dust form.  The materials can become airborne due to the manufacturing, transportation and storage practices followed. Testing can help identify conditions that could lead to a combustible dust explosion and prevent needless injuries and even deaths.”
To learn more about combustible dust testing, 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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