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ATEX and IEC Ex Flame-proof Explosion Proof Lighting & Equipment
Explosion Proof Lights
Explosion Proof Motors - Motors for Hazardous Locations
Industrial and Vaporproof Emergency Failsafe Lighting
Industrial Cord Reels and Tool Taps
Industrial Work Area Heaters
Machine Vision Lights
QC Series Industrial Portable Lighting - Quick Change Mount
Rig Lights
Stadium lights
String Lights and Temporary Light Stringers
Tank Cleaning Lights
Three Phase Motor Soft Starters
Vapor Proof LED Lights
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
Vehicle Mounting Plates
Workboat Light Fixtures & Lighting Equipment
Yacht Engine Room Lights
Color Changing LED RGB Lighting
Explosion Proof Cord Reels
GOLIGHT Spotlights
Larson FUTURE - Lease Lighting
Remote Area Lighting and Scene Lights
Utility Bucket Mount, Receiver Hitch & Trailer Mount Lighting
Aevum Control Lighting and Equipment - IIoT
Butane and Solvent Extraction Room Lighting and Equipment
DC to DC Transformers and Power Supplies
Explosion Proof Fans & Blowers
Explosion Proof Paint Spray Booth Approved Lights
Explosion Proof String Lights
Explosion Proof Switchgear & Controls
Fleet Service Lights and Lighting Equipment
Industrial Equipment Trailers
Industrial Handlamps & Droplights
ISO 14644/FS-209E Clean Room Lighting
LED Blasting Lights
Night Time Fishing Lights
Portable AC Power Supply Units
Portable Power Distribution Panels
Power Distribution Panels with KVA Transformers
Self-Contained Lighting
Service Pit Lighting
Solar Generators & Solar Powered Lighting
Agricultural Farm Equipment Lighting & Beacons
Explosion Proof Cameras & Surveillance Systems
Explosion Proof Emergency Lights
Explosion Proof Heaters
Garage & Gas Station Canopy Lights
LED Grow Lights
LED Lights
NDT Ultraviolet Lights
Portable Hazardous Location Lighting
Radio Communication Towers and Equipment
Salt Water Processing Equipment
Shelter & Tent Lighting
Thermal Monitoring Cameras and Systems
48V LED Equipment Lights
ATEX Rated Explosion Proof Lights
Automotive Lighting
Class Rated Signals, Alarms, and Systems
Hazardous Location Area Lights and Portable Lighting
HID Equipment Lights
Hot Work Permit Lighting and Equipment
Hunting Lights
Industrial lasers
Industrial Transformers
Light Towers
Outdoor Lighting
Remote Security and Surveillance Systems
Temporary Construction Lights
Vehicle Mounted Spotlights
Equipment & Heavy Machinery LED Light Package Fitouts
Phase Converters - Single to Three Phase
Marine Shore Power Cords and Equipment
24 Volt Military Lights
Disaster Relief / First Responders / Search & Rescue Lighting
Plastic Handcuff Key
110/120 Volt Flood Lights
Post Mount Spotlights
Magnetic Work Lights
Crank-up Light Masts
Intrinsically Safe Lights
Military Flashlights
LED Waterproof Lanterns
Work Area Lights
12 Volt Flood Lights
Boat Spotlights
New Boat Lights
HID Boat Lights
Boat Dock Lights
Remote Control Lights
Control Lights
Tow Lights
Magnetic Control Lights
NEW Lights and New Products
Evaporative Coolers
Police Equipment
AC/DC Transformers
Power Supplies
Military Spotlights 24V
Infrared Filters, Covert Covers, and Blackout IR Lenses
Military Equipment
Ultralife Batteries
Remote Control Pan Tilt Base
Larson Electronics Spotlights
Larson Electronics Parts
Replacement Lamps
Cords - Brackets
Portable Wheeled Generators
Non-Hazardous Location Extension Cords / Plugs / Outlets
HID Work Lights
HID Dive Lights
HID Off Road Lights
Acro Lights HID Lights
Halogen Lights
Acro Light Flashlight
Xenon HID Flashlights
Powerlight Flashlight
HID Flashlights
Xenon Flashlights
LED Status Lights
Forklift Lights
Tractor Lights
HID Post Mount Lights
Roof Mount Lights
Post Mount Light parts
Flashlight Holder
Magnet Spotlight Base
Tripods-Magnetic Base
Recharging Spotlights
Fire Rescue Lights
LED Street Lights
Utility Lights
Hazard Lights
Strobe Lights - Battery Operated
Strobes & Beacons
Strobe Light Bars
Headlights - Headlamps - Hard Hat Lights
Suction Mount Lights
Magnetic Spotlights
12/24 Volt Spotlights
Gifts For Men
New 12 / 24 Volt Lights
Explosion Proof Accessories and Replacement Parts
Explosion Proof Lighting
Explosion Proof Hand Lamps (Drop Lights)
Explosion Proof Lights - Stand/Dolly
Explosion Proof Tank Lights
Explosion Proof Phones and Intercoms
Explosion Proof Extension Cords
Black Friday & Cyber Monday Specials
Crane Lights
Explosion Proof Light Rentals
General Light Rentals
Light Tower and Light Plant Rentals
Power Distribution Rentals
Power Plant Lighting
Refinery lights
Environmental Services Lights
Aerospace Lights
Chemical Plant Lights
Food Grade Safe Lights
Film and Entertainment Lights
Handheld Meters and Devices
Waste Water Treatment Lights
Mining Lights
Ship Yard Lights
Work Site Lighting

02/05/11 Combustible Dusts: Explosive Potential

According to OSHA, 30,000 U.S. facilities are at risk of fires and explosions caused by the presence of combustible dusts. OSHA also notes that between 1980 and 2005 118 workers were killed and another 718 injured in incidents involving a combustible dust explosion. In one of the most deadly recorded incidents in thirty years, a 2008 combustible dust explosion at a Georgia sugar refinery killed 14 people and injured more than 40. On December 7, 2009 three men were severely burned when grain dust at the Simmons Feed Mill in Fairland, Oklahoma ignited and caused a dust explosion while they were using cutting torches inside of a grain silo. These incidents occur all too often in industrial operations all over the United Stated although fortunately many have resulted in only minor injuries and damages. What they underscore however is the continuing need for improvements in all aspects of hazardous workplace safety because although combustible dust conflagrations on a large scale are relatively few, the potential cost in lives and damages makes allowing any incident to occur unacceptable.


Industrial professionals have known for over one hundred years the dangers posed by combustible dust. Just about any material when divided finely enough acquires the potential to fuel catastrophic explosions and fires. Aluminum, steel, coal, grain, plastics, resins, flour, wood and a whole list of others both organic and non organic can become extremely flammable when ground, shaved or in some other way processed into fine particulates. This increased flammability is the result of increased surface area relative to the mass and density of the material. Oxidation, otherwise known as burning, occurs at the surface of a substance when it reacts with oxygen. The speed and ease with which this reaction takes place increases as the surface area of a material is increased.


For example, a chunk of coal has a moderate density and a relatively low surface area, thus it will take a significant amount of energy to begin combustion and it will oxidize very slowly once it is ignited. This is because there is less surface area available to react with oxygen and the high density to surface area ratio means that more heat energy will be dissipated within the mass of the coal. This same piece of coal, however, when ground into a fine powder becomes extremely easy to ignite as its surface area has been greatly increased and its density decreased although its mass remains the same. Each particulate within this coal dust then requires very little energy to ignite as there is less density for heat energy to be lost to through conduction. This means that something as small as a spark could be sufficient to begin combustion of such a dust cloud. Compounding the problem, the increased surface area of the coal dust also speeds the rate of combustion which leads to violent increases in pressure and temperature, hence the resulting explosion when dust is ignited.


Many of the more severe dust explosions that have occurred happened as secondary explosions. This means that a small and relatively minor explosion or fire took place which was responsible for igniting the dust and causing a secondary and more significant explosion. This is because although large amounts of dust may be created during industrial processes, most safety measures are effective in keeping the amount of dust actually suspended in the work atmosphere below the threshold of ignition. Although effective, these measures are not 100% efficient. The result is still some amount of dust being created, and all of this dust eventually has to settle somewhere. This leads to dust accumulation and buildup that can become significant over time and eventually turn into the equivalent of a ticking time bomb. This dust accumulates inside ventilation ducts, on machinery surfaces and interiors and on top of lighting fixtures where cleanup is difficult and often overlooked. When this dust is disturbed by a small scale explosion it becomes once again dispersed and highly flammable, resulting in a secondary explosion of much larger proportions.


Since even with the best safety measures and practices it is almost impossible to completely remove the dust that serves as the fuel for fires and explosions, it then becomes necessary to add further protection by removing potential sources of ignition. In almost all dust explosion incidents inadvertent ignition is the initial causal factor. This can be an errant spark, a hot piece of machinery, static electricity, or even the tiny arc created by a light switch. Preventing inadvertent ignition is an industry unto itself with the development of electrical equipment designed specifically to address this problem. Adding to this are the federal and local equipment regulations created to provide guidelines for its design, production and incorporation into the industrial workplace. At its most basic, electrical equipment designed to protect against inadvertent ignition is generally categorized as explosion proof or intrinsically safe and falls within several ratings levels intended to address the level of danger presented in a specific type of hazardous environment.


Hazardous environments are rated by the types of materials present, their concentration and presence frequency and their volatility and or flammability. In the case of locations designated as hazardous due to the presence of combustible dusts, equipment generally must carry an explosion proof rating of Class II, Div 1 and or Class II, Div 2 depending upon the how the environment has been classified. These ratings insure that the equipment has been tested and proven effective in preventing ignition in environments where dust is or may be present on a regular or occasional basis. This protection is achieved by limiting the amount of heat the electrical equipment is capable of producing, designing the equipment to contain ignitions within itself and or ensuring the equipment does not produce sufficient energy to create sparks or flame.  A Larson Electronics EPL-48-2L-LED Explosion Proof LED light for example is rated Class II, Division 1 - 2, Groups E,F and G, which means that this light is safe for use in environments where combustible dusts may be present. This is achieved through specially designed lamps and housings that produce low heat levels and are capable of containing ignitions of materials that may occur within the units housing. In this way, protection is achieved even though combustible dusts may be present in sufficient quantities to pose a significant threat.


Industrial operations very often by their nature make it impossible to completely remove the threat of fires or explosions. Flammable materials and by-products of operations are a normal part of the industrial process and there is simply no way to make these materials 100% inert and safe. Because of this, workers must be trained in safety and prevention, the proper equipment must be used, and all the mandated rules and regulations observed. Anyone operating in a hazardous location or managing such operations must keep themselves updated on the latest developments with OSHA and other regulatory bodies as well as remain vigilant against the dangers initially innocuous appearing materials such as dust present. It is only through a combination of safety measures such as these that the threat of fires and explosions can truly be reduced to the lowest extent possible.

Related Categories/Products
Category/Product (click on link below for more information)
Intrinsically Safe Lights
Class 2 Div 1 Coal & Grain Lights
Explosion Proof Hand Lamp -100/75/60 Watt - 120V AC - 100 Foot SOOW Cord - Class 1 & Class 2
Intrinsically Safe Blower (Ventilator) 25 foot Static Conductive Duct Redirects Stale Work Area Air
Intrinsically Safe Flashlight - Rechargeable LED Flashlight with Spot and Flood Beams
Explosion Proof Pen Light - Class I Division 1 Groups A, B, C & D - 11 Lumens - 24 Hour Runtime
Explosion Proof Fluorescent Handheld Light - Class 1 Division 1 and Class II Division 1
Explosion Proof Light - 400 Watt Metal Halide - Class 1 Div 1 & Class 2 Div 1 - IP67
12 / 24 Volt Explosion Proof Fluorescent Light - Class 1 Div 1 & Class 2 Div 1 UL 844 Ratings
Intrinsically Safe LED Trouble Light - Convenient Hanging Hook and Belt Ring - Spot & Flood - Rechar
Intrinsically Safe LED Penlight - 50 Lumens - 13.75 Hr. Runtime - C1D1 & C2D1 - (3) AAAA Batteries
Intrinsically Safe LED Penlight - 50 Lumens - 13.75 Hr. Runtime - C1D1 & C2D1 - (3) AAAA Batteries
Explosion Proof Light - Class II Div 1 - 150 Watt High Pressure Sodium Lamp
Explosion Proof LED String Lights - 10 lights - Class 1 Division 1 and Class 2 Division 1
Explosion Proof Class 2 Division 1 and Class 1 Division 1 Metal Halide - Food Safe Config
Class 2 Division 1 Light - 175W Metal Halide Light
Explosion Proof LED Strobe Light - 12-36 Volts DC - 141 Candela - Class 1 Div 1.
Explosion Proof LED Strobe Light - 120-240 Volts AC - 141 Candela - Class 1 Div. 1
Explosion Proof Light - 250 Watt Metal Halide - Pendant Mount - Multi-tap - Class 2 Division 1
Explosion Proof Light - 250 Watt Metal Halide -Multi-tap - Class 2 Division 1
12 / 24 Volt Explosion Proof LED light - UL Class 1 Div 1 & Class 2 Div 1 - Paint Spray Booth Cert.
Explosion Proof Switch - Class 1 Div 1 and Class 2 Div 1
Explosion Proof On/Off Switch - Class I, Div. 1 & 2 - Class II, Div. 1 & 2 - 20 Amp Rated
Explosion Proof Hand Lamp -100/75/60 Watt - 120V AC - 50 Foot SOOW Cord - Class 1 & Class 2
Explosion Proof Hand Lamp -100/75/60 Watt - 120V AC - 25 Foot SOOW Cord - Class 1 & Class 2
Class 1 Division 2 & Class 2 Division 1 400 Watt Metal Halide Light - Ceiling, Wall or Pendant Mount
*RENTAL* Explosion Proof Fluorescent Light - Class 1 Div.1/Class 2 Div 1- 12/24VDC *RENTAL*
*RENTAL* 12/24 Volt Explosion Proof LED light - Class 1 Div 1 & Class 2 Div 1 - Paint Spray Booth
*RENTAL* Class 1 Div. 2 & Class 2 Div. 1 400 Watt Metal Halide Light - Ceiling or Pendant Mount
Explosion Proof LED Strobe Light - 12-36VDC - Class 1, Div. 1 - Wall Mount
Explosion Proof LED Strobe Light - 120-240 Volts AC - Wall Mount - Class 1 Div. 1
Explosion Proof LED String Lights - 5 Hand Lamps - Class 1 & Class 2
Explosion Proof Tool Tap Reel - 50 Foot Cord Reel w/ Explosion Proof Outlet - C1D1 Rated
*RENTAL* Intrinsically Safe Blower (Fan) - Runs off Air Compressor - Class I, II, & III - 25' Duct
Replacement Battery for EXPRL-95 and EXPRL-96 series intrinsically safe lights
Replacement Charger for EXPRL-95 and EXPRL-96 series intrinsically safe lights
Replacement Battery Charger for the XPR-9863E model Intrinsically Safe Flashlights
Class 1 Div 1 and Class 2 Div 1 - 2 Gang Outlet Box - Double Gang
Class 1 & Class 2 Division 1 Explosion Proof UV Fluorescent Light - two foot two lamp
Explosion Proof Plug Receptacle - Class I, Div. 1 & 2 - Class II, Div. 1 & 2 - 30 Amp Rated
Explosion Proof Plug - Class I, Div. 1 & 2 - Class II, Div. 1 & 2 - 30 Amp Rated
Explosion Proof LED Tank Light - 17,500 Lumens LED - Wheelbarrow Cart - 250' Cord - Class I Div 1
Explosion Proof Emergency Light - 4 foot 3 lamp - Class 1 Div 1/2 & Class 2 Div 1/2 - 120/277VAC
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