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Preventing combustible dust explosions in food processing plants is a topic of widespread concern, and dust collectors are often at risk. This article describes the agencies that set and enforce standards and codes, and provides general guidelines on applying the right standards to protect against combustible dust explosions.

Agencies Involved

There are three key entities involved in combustible dust issues:

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): The NFPA sets safety standards, amending and updating them on a regular basis. When it comes to combustible dust, there are several documents that come into play. Together these standards add up to total protection to prevent an explosion, vent it safely, and/or ensure that it will not travel back inside a building.

Most insurance agencies and local fire codes state that NFPA standards shall be followed as code. Exceptions would be where the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), such as Factory Mutual, specifies an alternative safety approach which might be even more stringent.

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