Preventing Combustible Explosions

What happens to you in an explosion?

First your ears blow out, at about 3.4 PSI, then your eyes…then your lungs and other organs rupture at around 40 PSI.


This is a graphic explanation of exactly what happens in a firey explosion, yet very real. As seen on the image to the right, 4 workers died, and 42 more injured, as a result of explosions, with combustible dust being the culprit.  

You might be thinking, “well I’ve seen gas explosions blow whole neighborhoods up- wood dust could never produce that strong of an explosion”. According to the Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology…

unlike gas explosions having maximum explosion pressure at near chemical stoichiometric concentration, both the maximum explosion pressure and the maximum rate of explosion pressure of wood dusts appeared at three times or much higher equivalence ratio.

Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology

Combustible Wood Dust Explosions

Fires can ignite explosions in dirty workplaces. EXPLOSIONS!

This video explains why settled dust is such a hazard in sawmills and wood shops, and also shows how it increases the risk of fires and explosions, which can cause catastrophic injuries, loss of life, and destruction of buildings.


Factories are meant to be places of productivity where everyone works toward a common goal – whether it’s the number of widgets produced, the number of products assembled and packaged…whatever.  Workplaces should not be explosive traps in which we might lose our lives. It’s one thing if our place of work catches fire or worse, blows up and no one gets hurt…we may lose our livelihoods. But, if we work in a dirty and dangerous workplace…we and our buddies on either side of us can feasibly not be going home tonight.

How to Reduce Fires and Explosions in Factories

Today, technology exists that greatly lessen the threat of fire and explosions in the factories we work in. It’s well worth taking the time to look at some of the ways today’s technologies may keep you out of the nightly news. Spark detection systems, backdraft valves, fire suppression of all sorts play pertinent roles in keeping our factories safer.

Does your workplace have what is required? Intelligent controllers have also proven to make the workplace cleaner, quieter and safer by controlling the airflow and exhausting all particulates when and where they are produced – this eliminates any settling in your main duct, greatly reduces in-factory dust accumulation and when programmed correctly work in orchestra with all of your fire suppression elements.

Dust Collector Causes Fire


PSA: Stay out of the news…

Need Help?

If you would like to learn more about if you and your workplace are in compliance you may reach me at for your free system analysis.

Threading the Needle: Dust Collection for Shot Blasting Machines

We have a new guest post published at the Dust Safety Science website & blog – take a look!

In the article, we look at the unique challenges for dust collection that are posed by shot blasting machines.

The Ecogate greenBOX Master controller can automatically maintain precise drop air velocities for shot blasting applications.
The Ecogate greenBOX Master controller can automatically maintain precise drop air velocities for shot blasting applications.

Generally speaking, getting “good performance” from an industrial dust collection system is a matter of getting “enough” – enough air velocity at all drops such that waste material is reliably picked up, enough air velocity in the ducting system such that the waste material does not settle there, and so on.

In shot blasting applications, however, getting too much suction is also a problem, because this causes the abrasive material to be sucked away, which is a costly loss.

To solve this challenge, we developed a unique feature that ensures that the section is always in the right range, however that range is defined by the user for each specific application.

Read more about how we do that on the Dust Safety Science website

Subscribe to our newsletter:

New Industrial Wood Dust Collection Resources Page

We’ve prepared a new overview of industrial dust collection for the woodworking industry.

Industrial wood dust collectors installed in a large woodworking factory.

The page includes a number of helpful resources needed to build up a broad understanding of industrial wood dust collection. This includes information such as:

  • OSHA resources on the health and safety hazards posed to human health by wood dust
  • Applicable NFPA standards – NFPA 652 (Fundamentals of Combustible Dust) and NFPA 664 (Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities)
  • Best practices from the Industrial Ventilation: A Manual of Recommended Practice for Design
  • Minimum transport velocities for different types of dust
  • Lifecycle cost analysis

…and more.

Take a look at the Industrial Wood Dust Collection Resources Page here.

If you would like to discuss your dust collection project with one of our experts, please contact us here.

You can sign up for our newsletter here: