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Combustible Dust & Static Electricity Q&A

  •   How do you explain to your clients the difference between NFPA 652 and NFPA 654, and how should each be used?

    Answered March 8th, 2016 by Expert: Dr. Vahid Ebadat

    On September 7, 2015, NFPA 652, “Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust”, was issued by the Technical Committee on Fundamentals of Combustible Dusts. This standard provides the general requirements for management of combustible dust fire and explosion hazards and directs the user to NFPA’s industry or commodity – specific standard, as appropriate.

    The genesis of this document was the realization that there are inconsistencies with regard to the requirements outlined in the commodity-specific standards and that a more consistent approach needed to be developed to assist users of these commodity specific standards in the management of the fire and explosion risk associated with combustible dusts. This standard introduces a new term, dust hazards analysis (DHA), which is similar in nature to the Process Hazard Assessment (PHA) which is required by all of the commodity-specific standards.

    The NFPA 652 standard will be the governing document, moving forward, where industrial facilities manufacture, process, blend, convey, generate, or handle combustible dusts or combustible particulate solids.

    If your commodity specific standard is NFPA 654 then you do have the option of deferring to that standard. If  a requirement in NFPA 654 differs from a requirement specified in NFPA 652 then the NFPA 654 requirement is permitted to be used. If an NFPA 654 requirement specifically prohibits a requirement specified in NFPA 652, then NFPA 654 shall be applied. Finally where NFPA 654 neither prohibits nor provides a requirement, then the requirements of NFPA 652 should be used.

    I would recommend that you use NFPA 652 to conduct the required DHA and to evaluate hazards and risk associated with your operations.  The requirements in this document very closely parallel those of NFPA 654 and using it in a competent fashion should ensure that you are effectively managing your combustible dust fire and explosion risk.