Combustibility of corrugated paper dust

Mike asks:

Can you tell me if there is an industry standard on “combustibility of paper dust for corrugated” and if so what that standard might be.

We have been hearing a lot about people needing combustion proof vacuum cleaners to clean out electrical cabinets and so on up and down the corrugator. The question came up as too exactly how combustible corrugated paper dust is.

The simple answer is that it is combustible enough that you should use precautions to protect against spark or open flames when high concentrations of paper dust are in the air or in a confined space, such as a vacuum cleaner canister.

Over the last several years there have been public meetings with OSHA and the National Fibre Prevention Association about this subject. There is information about this in NAPA 68 and the Federal Register under 29 CFR Part 1910. While it came to light because of explosions in sugar refineries, metal processing plants, food processing operations and coal fired power plants it has spilled over into cellulose dust. NAPA writes the requirements and OSHA enforces the standard. It is still evolving, and OSHA may enforce the standard unequally.

As far as I know it is still under a National Emphasis Program. This may be mandated by your insurance agency, and NAPA is to be treated as a legal code.

I would start to move in this direction, as it is just a matter of time before enforcement intensifies even with sequestration. Let me hear back from you if you need some additional documentation. You can also talk with the folks at Ohio Blow Pipe.

-Ralph

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