Safe Solutions

Combustible dust: a rare but deadly hazard

It is difficult to imagine a construction work site—especially one involving roof system removal and/or installation—without a fair amount of visible dust. Environmental, health and safety professionals rightly focus on hazards related to dust generated from cutting products containing sand; asbestos fibers in dust created during demolition or installation operations; and a variety of other dusts that pose risks to workers.

However, some recent manufacturing-related incidents have drawn attention to the risks associated with another type of dust that—though rare at construction work sites—can have catastrophic effects: combustible dust.

Different from other dust types, combustible dust's significant hazard is not related to worker inhalation, absorption or ingestion of dust but fire and explosion hazards associated with dust.

Effects and risks