Industrial Explosion Protection

OSHA Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program

This bulletin discusses an OSHA initiative that targets owners and operators of facilities handling combustible dusts.

A review of over 200 dust explosion incidents by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) resulted in their November 2006 call for a “national regulatory standard for combustible dust hazards” in the United States.

On Oct 18, 2007, OSHA published the “Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program” (NEP); document CPL 03-00-006 issued by the Directorate of Enforcement Programs. It describes their policies and procedures regarding inspection of facilities that handle combustible dust as well as their expectations regarding owner / operator compliance with US Safety Standards. The scope is “OSHA-wide” and will be administered by national, regional, and area offices of OSHA. Download Directive Number: CPL 03-00-008. An OSHA published "Fact Sheet" explaining the hazards of combustible dust is available for download here.

States may provide & administer their own programs, which, if not identical to the Federal requirements, must be at least as effective. No state is exempt from compliance with the intent of the OSHA NEP.

The Office of Statistical Analysis is compiling ‘master lists’ of employers under selected SIC/NAICS codes that represent industries which have an OSHA inspection history of handling combustible dust hazards. The area OSHA offices will make additions, based upon their knowledge of local industry and conduct owner / operator facility compliance audits (Appendix D of the NEP lists the target industries by SIC/NAICS).

The OSHA document identifies the NFPA standards to be employed in the process of identification of combustible dust risk and risk management by both preventative and protection technology. NFPA 654 (general requirements), 68 (venting) & 69 (suppression, isolation, and other prevention techniques) are specifically referenced These can be purchased at

This NEP will stimulate interest in explosion prevention & protection. Owners / operators of facilities handling combustible dusts face new compliance requirements identified in the NEP as well as the new generation of NFPA Standards published over the last year.

With BS&B participation in the NFPA Standard development process and our broad range of dust explosion prevention and protection technology, we are in a unique position to provide support to owners, operators and equipment manufacturers.

The new Standards provide prevention and protection choices. BS&B provides technical support and products in each of the following areas that are identified in the NFPA Standards and the OSHA directive:

  • Equipment protection by explosion venting direct to atmosphere
  • Equipment protection by flameless explosion venting
  • Building protection by explosion venting
  • Equipment protection by suppression
  • Equipment protection by chemical isolation
  • Equipment protection by mechanical isolation
  • Dust testing for combustion characteristics

Additional information is available by calling 1-800-272-3475.