Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion and reactivity hazards

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Gas and Vapor

Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Thermal Stability

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

Adiabatic Calorimetry
Data demonstrate the consequences of process upsets, such as failed equipment or improper procedures, and guide mitigation strategies including Emergency Relief System (ERS) design
Reaction Calorimetry
Data yield heat and gas removal requirements to control the desired process chemistry
Battery Safety

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

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Cable Testing
Evaluate electrical cables to demonstrate reliability and identify defects or degradation
Equipment Qualification (EQ)
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Water Hammer
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent unwanted hydraulic pressure transients in process piping
Acoustic Vibration
Identify and eliminate potential sources of unwanted vibration in piping and structural systems
Gas & Air Intrusion
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent intrusion of gas or air in piping systems
ISO/IEC 17025:2017

Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in the field of Testing

ISO 9001:2015
Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO 9001:2015
Dust Hazards Analysis
Evaluate your process to identify combustible dust hazards and perform dust explosion testing
On-Site Risk Management
On-site safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up
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 safely handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

FATE™ & Facility Modeling

FATE (Facility Flow, Aerosol, Thermal, and Explosion) is a flexible, fast-running code developed and maintained by Fauske and Associates under an ASME NQA-1 compliant QA program.

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical
Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid, flow, and electric power systems
Hydrogen Safety
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Thermal Hydraulics
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Nuclear Safety
Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant
Radioactive Waste
Safety analysis to underpin decomissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials
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


Our highly experienced team keeps you up-to-date on the latest process safety developments.

Process Safety Newsletter

Stay informed with our quarterly Process Safety Newsletters sharing topical articles and practical advice.


With over 40 years of industry expertise, we have a wealth of process safety knowledge to share.

Recent Posts

Combustible Dust Explosions in the Grain Industry – Why?

Posted by Fauske & Associates on 11.15.18

By Ashok Dastidar, PhD MBA, Vice President, Dust & Flammability Testing and Consulting Services, Fauske & Associates, LLC

Dust Explosion Grain Silo
Grain Silo Explosion
Photo by Tim Hynds,
Sioux City Journal

Count Morozzo from the Academy of Science in Turin investigated the incident to conclude that the explosion was caused by the flour dust suspended in the air and not gases generated by mold or fungus eating the flour. Dust explosions are very common in industry. They occur in all industries from wood working, sawmills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical plants; and more importantly for this discussion at agricultural facilities.

In April of 1980 there was a large explosion at a grain terminal in Saint Joseph, MO. One person was killed and four were injured. An electric arc from a damaged level indicator initiated an explosion in one of the silos. The explosion traveled through the headhouse to the other silos and caused over two million dollars in damages. Later, in June of that same year an explosion occurred at a river grain terminal in Saint Paul, MN. Luckily there were no fatalities but 13 workers were injured. An electrician was working on live electrical circuitry while grain loading operations were taking place. The arc from the electrical work initiated an explosion that traveled along the tunnel to the headhouse and through the bucket elevator to the other tunnels resulting in $300, 000 in damages. A month later in Fonda, IA an explosion occurred at a train-loading country grain terminal where electrical welding on a bucket elevator initiated an event. No one was killed or injured in that event.

Nine months later in April 1981 a large explosion at an export grain silo plant in Corpus Christi, TX killed nine people and injured 30. Smoldering lumps of grain entered a bucket elevator and initiated a dust cloud explosion. The resulting explosion propagated to other elevators, and then onto the headhouse, tunnels, conveyers and silos, resulting in thirty million dollars of damage.

It was after this last event that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the “grain handling standard” 29CFR1910.272 in 1987. This standard is the backbone of the government’s safety program to protect grain elevators, feed mills, flour mills, rice mills, dust pelletizing plants, dry corn mills, soybean flaking operations, and the dry grinding operations of soy cake from violent dust explosions. Some of the key requirements of the standard are that employers develop an emergency plan to deal with dust explosions, train their employees and contractors to recognize dust explosion hazards and safely work in that environment, establish a hot work permit system to minimize potential ignition sources, keep fugitive dust at bay with a documented housekeeping program, and requirements for emergency escape. Additionally, it provides requirements for the safe use of driers, bucket elevators and air filtrations systems.

This standard, according to OSHA’s figures, has been effective. The average number of grain elevator explosions has decreased from 20 per year in the 70’s and 80’s to 13 per year in the 90’s and to less than 8 per year in the 21st century. However, that still amounts to 503 incidents between 1976 and 2011 with 677 injuries and 184 fatalities in that time. The latest incident to occur is the Andersen

Farms Inc. grain elevator explosion in South Sioux City, Nebraska, on Tuesday, May 29th of this year. The accident resulted in one fatality and one injury. The cause of the event is still under review.

Compounding this great tragedy is that the OSHA standard that would have kept the employees safe does not apply to family-farm owned facilities with less than 11 non-family employees. As a result they cannot enforce the 29CFR1910.272 at the facility or investigate the incident.

dust explosion course Ashok
Dr. Ashok Dastidar teaches Intro NFPA 652 Course and Advanced DHA Workshop

What potentially could have kept the employees safe and avoided the accident is enforcement of the Nebraska Fire Code, Title 153 and the Grain Elevator Fees and Guidelines, Title 161. Both these documents have adopted NFPA 61 “Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities” and reference it for safety inspections. Compliance with NFPA 61, a document that greatly influenced the OSHA standard, would have reduced the risk of a catastrophic explosion. NFPA 61 is one of the oldest NFPA standards dating back to 1923 and was initially developed to prevent dust explosions in grain terminals and flour mills. Gradually, over time, the standard was combined with other NFPA documents to become a universal fire and dust explosion prevention and protection standard for agricultural and food facilities. The document has a long history and is adopted by most state and local fire codes. Therefore, state/ local building inspectors and state fire marshals should be very familiar with the document and on how it should be enforced.

Additionally, many insurance carriers require agricultural facilities to comply with NFPA 61 for property loss and business interruption protection. These companies have engineers and inspectors who are trained in the NFPA 61 requirements and frequently audit facilities for compliance before offering them insurance coverage. They can spot deficient housekeeping, or bad hot work/electrical work practices or building/machinery construction without explosion/fire protection. Their enforcement of NFPA 61 as an authority having jurisdiction can greatly reduce the risk of an explosion or fire.

With these three layers of protection; the OSHA Grain Handling Standard, State Fire Codes that adopt NFPA 61 and insurance companies that require NFPA 61 compliance for coverage to be offered, why do we still have explosions in the grain industry? Even if one of these three layers were to fail; for example, the OSHA standard not being enforceable on small family-farm facilities, the other two layers of protection should be able to catch any deficiencies and protect workers and the surrounding community.

Need help evaluating your facility's combustible dust hazards and how it fits into your overall Process Safety Managment (PSM) plan? Check out the details for our 2 day Dust Hazard Analysis Course below.

Download Our Dust Hazard Analysis Brochure


Topics: Combustible Dust


Is My Dust Combustible?

A Flowchart To Help You Decide
Download Now