Combustible wood dust in the workplace presents a risk of both fire and explosion if not managed effectively. A dust explosion or serious fire can cause catastrophic loss of life, injuries, and destruction of buildings.
Controlling wood dust hazards requires a systematic long term approach as part of a combustible wood dust management program and both employers and employees have a part to play in preventing combustible dust issues in their workplaces.
For employers and employees that role means recognizing and controlling the hazards associated with wood dust. WorkSafeNB has a role to play in advising workplaces on procedures, practices and compliance activities that can help to prevent on-going issues with wood dust.
One key to preventing dust explosions is stopping combustible wood dust from accumulating to hazardous levels, particularly in hidden areas and on hard-to-clean elevated surfaces.
This video by WorkSafeBC provides a good introduction to the preventing dust explosions:
In consultation with the stakeholder community, WorkSafeNB has developed the following prevention and compliance approach for employers and for health and safety officers conducting inspections in workplaces that produce combustible dust.