Hazards Analysis, Code Compliance & Procedure Development

Services to identify process safety hazards and facilitate compliance with established standards and codes.

Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion and reactivity hazards

Flammable Gas & Vapor Testing

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

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical

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

Battery Safety

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

Laboratory Testing & Software Capabilities

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

Nuclear Overview

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

Severe Accident Analysis and Risk Assessment

Expert analysis of possible risk and consequences from nuclear plant accidents

Thermal Hydraulics

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


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.

Published January 4, 2017

The Economics of Fugitive Dust (Combustible Dust Hazards)

By: Ursula Malczewski, Chemical Engineer – Onsite Safety Services, Fauske & Associates, LLC

The Basics

Having fugitive dust in a facility is literally like throwing money out of a process. Emissions from a system shop vac.pngwaste the raw material costs and diminish both the quantity of product and potential revenue. Furthermore, it is a waste of resources (both time and money) for an employee or external company to be hired to clean the dust emissions. The finest, most hazardous material settles on hard to reach surfaces such as rafters, between drop ceilings, and on the tops of tall process equipment. In addition, equipment required to safely clean combustible dust can be expensive; and regular shop vacs cannot be used. If a hazardous quantity of explosible dust accumulates or can be suspended in air, it is required that equipment in the local area be properly rated and classified (Table 1). To convert or construct an area to be electrically classified can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

 NFPA 654 Guidance for Area Electrical Classification for General Combustible Dust* [1]table for newsletter.png

The Worst Case Scenarios

If fugitive dust isn’t addressed immediately, the costs of these emissions can be much greater. Under the adverse conditions, hazardous dust can cause fires or explosions leading to loss of life, loss of property, and loss of public favor. Fuel (fugitive hazardous dust) outside of process equipment results in a higher probability for secondary explosions to occur which can be more devastating and occur milliseconds after the initiating event. If the fire or deflagration does not cause complete closure of the facility, there may still be significant expenses: increased insurance premiums, lawyer bills, OSHA fines, repair or purchase of new equipment, construction of a new facility, etc. During this downtime, the line or whole plant will not be generating revenue and clients may be lost as they take their business elsewhere to meet their needs. Many times after such industrial disasters, companies can never recover. [2]

Figure 1: Increasing Costs of Fugitive Combustible Dust

increasing cost of fugitive comb dust.png

The Solutions

There are two strategies to minimize fugitive dust emissions in a process: containment and collection. All components of enclosed systems that handle combustible particulate solids are required to be designed to prevent the escape of dust. If equipment cannot be designed for dust containment – as is the case, for example, for some pouring or transfer operations or open process equipment – a properly designed dust collection system with appropriate explosion protection would need to be installed. Another important factor is preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance would preclude any issues if the source of emissions is a leak from faulty equipment. If the above methods are not enough to mitigate fugitive hazardous dust, housekeeping must be completed to meet thresholds and frequencies as specified in industry or commodity specific NFPA standards. [3]

Keep money in your pockets by keeping explosible dust contained in your process. If you have any questions regarding fugitive dust emissions in your facility or assessing your risk for combustible dust fires and explosions, don’t hesitate to contact us at DHA@fauske.com.

33.jpg   22.jpg   11.jpg

Images are used with permission from Hughes Environmental 

Figure 2: Fugitive dust from cotton, iron, and paper industries on equipment and overhead ductwork


1. NFPA 654 (2017) Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids, 2017 Edition. NFPA, Quincy, MA
2. Completed Investigations - Combustible  Dust Explosions and Flash Fires. U.S. Chemical Safety Board. Web. , 2 Oct. 2016. <http://www.csb.gov/>.
3. NFPA 652 (2016) Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, 2016 Edition. NFPA, Quincy, MA.

For a further discussion, please contact Ursula Malczewski malczewski@fauske.com 630-321-4784

Sign up for our newsletter to Get all the latest information

Share this article

Find more resources articles