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How (and Why) to Conduct a Dust Hazard Analysis

dust hazard

With several statewide dust hazard analyses (DHA) deadlines on the horizon, many facilities are weighing their analysis options. Depending on the industry magnitude and facility size, this can pose some difficulties in terms of budget and safety. Piecemeal approaches may prove underwhelming in effectiveness, while a uniform overhaul could gut a budget. Three options exist for facilities and plants to ensure continued safety, straddle up-to-code standards, and stay within cost-effective means. 

The Options

A dust hazard analysis’ objective focuses on finding on-site fire hazards from potentially incendiary dusts and remedying gaps in safety compliance. Typically, the end goal follows three major aims: business vitality, workforce safety, and damage mitigation. 

A number of factors play into a dust hazard analysis’ complexity. This can include facility size and requirements, the degree of implementation, and the breadth of budget. With all these variables, a DHA may need to be modified; this usually falls into three categories: compliance-based, performance-based, and risk-based. 

Breaking Down by Basis

The three approaches to dust hazard analysis offer both successes and shortfalls; the final decision on which to choose hinges on the facilities’ specific needs. The compliance-based approach acts as a checklist that heeds National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. The upshot to this approach comes through its speedy execution, but it’s trade-offs include operational friction and a steep investment curve. 

Where a full compliance-based approach fails to make sense, performance-based and risk-based dust hazard analyses enter. Both excel as supplemental tactics to compliance-based DHA when budgeting and risk assessment necessitate. 

The performance-based route examines target performance criteria (e.g. measures of structural integrity), which can prove suitable as alternatives to full compliance. On the other hand, the risk-based approach delves into the probabilities and frequencies of a fire or explosion. This approach also assesses aftermath severity, delving into the personnel toll, structural stability, and business sustainability after the fact. 

The Why

The latter two approaches benefit facilities that, whether through strategic or financial reasoning, resolve that a completely compliance-based approach levies too much. But the fact remains that a dust hazard analysis helps ensure safety, along with continued business viability and structural integrity. 

A fire or explosion takes a tangible toll, no matter the angle. A dust hazard analysis, compliance-based or otherwise, keeps that to a minimum, protecting workers and bottom lines in the process. 
If you’re searching for all kinds of supportive industrial solutions for your business, turn to Southern Field-EEC. We carry the expertise, safety, and care to help support you and your business’ next project. Contact us to request a quote, speak to a representative about your needs, and follow our blog for further helpful resources.