Hazards Analysis, Code Compliance & Procedure Development

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Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion and reactivity hazards

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Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Chemical Reactivity Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify reactive chemical hazards, including the possibility of material incompatibility, instability, and runaway chemical reactions

DIERS Methodology

Design emergency pressure relief systems to mitigate the consequences of unwanted chemical reactivity and account for two-phase flow using the right tools and methods

Deflagrations (Dust/Vapor/Gas)

Properly size pressure relief vents to protect your processes from dust, vapor, and gas explosions

Effluent Handling

Pressure relief sizing is just the first step and it is critical to safety handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

Thermal Stability

Safe storage or processing requires an understanding of the possible hazards associated with sensitivity to variations in temperature


Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents


Model transport of airborne virus aerosols to guide safe operations and ventilation upgrades


Model transport of contamination for source term and leak path factor analysis

Fire Analysis

Model transport of heat and smoke for fire analysis

Flammable or Toxic Gas

transport of flammable or toxic gas during a process upset

OSS consulting, adiabatic & reaction calorimetry and consulting

Onsite safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up

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Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid flow, electric power systems

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Testing to support safe design of batteries and electrical power backup facilities particularly to satisfy UL9540a ed.4

Hydrogen Safety

Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen

Spent Fuel

Safety analysis for packaging, transport, and storage of spent nuclear fuel

Decommissioning, Decontamination and Remediation (DD&R)

Safety analysis to underpin decommissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials

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Bespoke testing and modeling services to validate analysis of DD&R processes

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Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant.

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Expert analysis of possible risk and consequences from nuclear plant accidents

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Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions

Environmental Qualification (EQ) and Equipment Survivability (ES)

Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions

Laboratory Testing & Software Capabilities

Testing and modeling services to support resolution of emergent safety issues at a power plant

Adiabatic Safety Calorimeters (ARSST and VSP2)

Low thermal inertial adiabatic calorimeters specially designed to provide directly scalable data that are critical to safe process design

Other Lab Equipment and Parts for the DSC/ARC/ARSST/VSP2 Calorimeters

Products and equipment for the process safety or process development laboratory


Software for emergency relief system design to ensure safe processing of reactive chemicals, including consideration of two-phase flow and runaway chemical reactions


Facility modeling software mechanistically tracks transport of heat, gasses, vapors, and aerosols for safety analysis of multi-room facilities


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Recent Posts

Combustible Dust Hazards in Industrial Hygiene Settings

Posted by The Fauske Team on 04.25.14

Dust Mask   Nuisance (NIOSH)By Zach Hachmeister, Operations Manager, Fauske & Associates, LLC

Dust in industrial settings can present a variety of hazards, but the two that are most prevalent relate to the toxicity and explosive characteristics of the material.  Both hazards are addressed in different fashions; however, there is some correlation between the two.  

For toxicity purposes, government agencies such as the American Conference of Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have developed threshold limit values (TLV) or permissible exposure levels (PEL) for a wide range of materials.  These values set a safe level at which employees can be exposed to a specific material over a given amount of time and are usually reported in parts per million (ppm) or mg/m3.  When addressing explosion hazards, the potential for an explosion does not begin until dust concentrations suspended in air reach a value that is typically above 20 g/m3.  To help put this in perspective, a 25 watt light bulb positioned one meter away would be barely visible in a dust cloud that has a concentration of 60 g/m3.  Keeping that in mind, it is also possible to see dust particles suspended in air and still be below the threshold value set by OSHA.

In accident investigations, combustible dust explosions are usually referred to as either a primary or secondary explosion.  A primary dust explosion is one that occurs inside a process vessel such as a dust collector and the fuel is usually the actual process dust.  Secondary explosions often follow a primary explosion.  Essentially, the pressure wave from the primary explosion lofts fugitive material that was previously deposited on overhead surfaces.  The lofted material then forms a cloud and eventually finds an ignition source resulting in a secondary explosion.  One of the more well known dust explosions was the incident that occurred at Imperial Sugar where a series of secondary explosions demolished the facility causing over $270 million dollars in damage.

The relationship between the toxicity and explosion hazards primarily relates to secondary dust explosions and fugitive dust deposits. An extremely low dust concentration from a hygiene perspective is usually an indication of good dust control, especially if these measurements are taken near process equipment.  Good dust control leads to lower fugitive dust deposits which can alleviate housekeeping duties and ultimately reduce secondary dust explosion hazards.  However, using hygiene measurements to solely address dust explosion hazards is not a safe approach.  The reason this is not acceptable is that it will not always tell the story of what is on elevated horizontal surfaces such as overhead I-beams or duct work. It also does not address primary dust explosion hazards, which are those that exist inside process equipment. 

Dust Pentagon   from OSHAIn order to mitigate the hazards associated with dusts in the work place, it is not only important to look at hygiene levels but also to evaluate the explosive characteristics of the materials being processed.  A good starting point is to have dust explosibility screening tests conducted on samples that are taken from process equipment such as dust collectors or mills.  It is also a good practice to evaluate the fugitive dust deposits on overhead supports.  If the materials are identified as non-explosible then the main safety concern may be reduced to toxicity effects.  However, if the dust is found to be explosible then explosion protection equipment should be installed on process equipment and housekeeping efforts should be capable of keeping fugitive dust deposits to a minimum. 

If you have any further questions regarding how to assess combustible dust explosion hazards in the work place, process safety management (PSM), process hazard analysis (PHA) and evaluation or risk management services, please contact Jeff Griffin at griffin@fauske.com or 630-887-5278. www.fauske.com.

Combustible Dust Made Easy:  I Have a Dust Collector, What Do I Do?

Topics: Combustible Dust, explosive dust, flammable dust, process safety management, process safety, explosion prevention, industrial hygiene dust


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