If you run a company that works regularly with non-combustible resources, a shift to working with explosive materials might seem like a daunting task. There are safety regulations to think about, OSHA, the layout of your workspaces – a lot of stuff. At the Dust In Case combustible dust blog, we’re dedicated to helping our readers stay safe and up-to-date when it comes to combustible dust. Here are some steps you can take when introducing an explosive material in the workplace for the first time.
1. Educate Employees – The first and most important step is to talk to your employees. Let them know how the change is going to affect them. Walk them through the OSHA regulations. Answer any questions they may have about safety and insurance and walk them through any new safety procedures that may be taking place.
2. Test New Safety Procedures – If your exit routes in the event of a fire have changed, run drills. If there is new signage that has to be placed in dangerous areas, double check to make sure it is not obscured or in an area where it may not be paid attention. Make sure fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems are tested and up to code – they’re more important now than ever.
3. Do Your Research – Read up on OSHA guidelines, they change from time to time and you want to be as up-to-date as possible. Read news articles about other business in your industry that have incidents with explosive dust in the past and see how it relates to your situation. Are there any steps that they could have taken that you yourself can now preemptively take?
4. Respect the Dust – One of the most common mistakes people make is thinking “Oh, there’s not enough dust built up to cause any problems” or “this dust is only slightly explosive, I don’t need to worry about upkeep that often.” Explosive dust is dangerous and can easily cost you and your company. Make sure you don’t take procedures regarding combustible dust lightly.
Introducing explosive dust into your business is a serious move. The health of your employees and your business will rely on you handling it responsibly. By following these steps when you first get started and keeping yourself educated on the latest OSHA guidelines and procedures, you can significantly reduce the risk of an on-site accident. If you have any recommendations for dealing with the transition to explosive dust, we’d love to hear them. Let us know by sounding off in the comments sections below!