Recently there has been an increased awareness of the explosion hazard associated with combustible dusts. NFPA 654/A.22.214.171.124 includes criteria that have been used for determining whether an explosion hazard exists in a building compartment. There is, however, genuine concern over the technical pedigree of those criteria. Federal governmental agencies have recently begun using NFPA 654 as a standard for assessing compliance with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act of 1970. This has precipitated a genuine concern that the criteria currently in NFPA 654 do not have sufficient technical justification to be used as a law enforcement criterion.
The objective of this project is to establish the technical basis for quantitative criteria for determining that a compartment is a “dust explosion hazard” that can be incorporated into NFPA 654 and other relevant safety codes and standards. This report presents the results of the Phase I portion of the study which is the development of a strawman method to assess the dust hazard.