NFPA Standard Updates

How the newest editions apply to our industry


combustible dust-related fires and explosions were reported by the Combustible Dust Policy Institute after analyzing 2011 data from the Department of Homeland Security's National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).

Roughly 75%

Of reported fires are in the NFIRS database, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Beyond that figure, many other fires go unreported.

NFPA 652 applies to...

All facilities with combustible dust including agriculture, chemicals, food, grain, fertilizer, tobacco, plastics, rubber, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, tire and rubber manufacturing, dyes, metal processing, recycling operations and many more.

NFPA 61 applies to…

Specific industry standards for types of dust that a facility manages as a “commodity specific” standard. These include agricultural dust, rather than standards that cover metal, wood and plastic dust. When there are differences between 61 and 652, the NFPA allows the user to choose between the two standards.

Every 3-5 years...

NFPA 652 is revised. This means that the latest edition for NFPA 652 is the 2019 version. In contrast, NFPA 61 has been revised as the 2020 edition.

What’s new in the 2020 edition of NFPA 61

The NFPA 61 deadline for completing a DHA (Dust Hazard Analysis)  for existing processes and facility compartments has been specified (Jan. 1, 2022).
Surface resistivity requirements for conveyor belts, lag belts and lagging in NFPA 61 has been revised from 100 megohms to 300 megohms.
A new statement has been added to exclude air-material separators with a dirty side volume of less than 0.2 m³ (8 feet³) from explosion protection requirements.
New sections on spray dryer systems, mixers and blenders and work activities that present an ignition source are added.
A section on management of change has been revised to clarify what is required to be addressed versus what is recommended.
Annex material has been added to provide information about the methods that can be used to complete a DHA. These include determining the filtering efficiency of dust collectors and protection methods for bins, silos and tunnels where explosion venting is not practical.
A table on agricultural dust test date has been updated and expanded to include additional dust.
An example of a checklist for completing a DHA has been replaced with what the NFPA calls “a more detailed, comprehensive example.”

What to keep in mind for your Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA):

Sept. 7, 2020

The deadline for existing facilities in accordance with NFPA 652 to complete DHAs for all their processes

Jan. 1, 2022

The deadline for other facilities in accordance with NFPA 61 to complete DHAs

An efficient DHA…

  • Determines any potential causes of fires and consequences
  • Determines where any potential fires and explosions can occur
  • Determines the effectiveness of established and proposed safeguards
  • Must be conducted by someone qualified or a team with the right knowledge and experience to predict potential threats.

Every 5 years

When DHAs must be reviewed and updated. (Records of progress should be kept every year with regards to previous DHAs in preparation.)

OSHA citations...

Are the potential ramifications for not completing a proper DHA. Examples include: “Lack of explosion isolation between equipment,” “need for classified electrical system and powered industrial trucks,” “lack of bonding or grounding of equipment,” and “air from dust collectors was recycled back into building.”

Steps to perform a DHA:

Collect as much information as possible on the material you handle or process.
Collect as much information as possible while listing the equipment that handles this material. (Necessary safety specifications include original equipment manufacturer specifications, process flow diagrams and fire protection.)
Determine where fire, explosion hazards or degradation could potentially occur at each phase of the manufacturing process. (Determine specific ignition sources.)
Review each phase with a team or professional and discuss potential scenarios involving fire and explosions.
Review safeguards meant to mitigate these scenarios.
Determine level of risk and document all conclusions meant to aid in mitigating this risk.

Where you can find more information:

Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions
Fundamentals of Combustible Dust