Important Government Regulations

U.S. Government Regulations for Explosion-Proof/Dust Ignition-Proof Industrial Vacuums

Ever since the tragic dust explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, GA, killed 14 workers in 2008, preventing combustible dust explosions has become a national agenda.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) announcement of random inspections also came with the reissue of CPL 03-00-008, their National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Combustible Dust that calls attention to the agency’s rigorous expectations for combustible dust-related explosion prevention. The NEP also outlines what OSHA auditors will be looking for during their visits, such as dust accumulation of more than 1/32”, the thickness of a paperclip, covering more than 5% of a plant.

Since traditional methods like sweeping and compressed air hardly combat fine dust, food manufacturing facilities often attempt to comply with these plant maintenance standards with shop-style vacuums. While these vacuums might be acceptable for general cleaning, using them to collect combustible dust like sugar and cinnamon can be dangerous. What’s more, their use may also violate the requirements set forth in OSHA’s Combustible Dust NEP, which calls for electrical vacuums used in dusty areas to be approved for the hazard-classified location, as required under standard 1910.307(b).

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