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Combustible Dust Testing Laboratory

Category Press Release
Publish Date 11/21/2018
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Woodworking Company Faces Fines for Exposing Employees to Explosion Hazards and Other Safety Concerns
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides combustible dust testing services to help prevent workplace injuries, deaths, the destruction of property and costly OSHA penalties.

Cinnaminson, NJ, November 21st , 2018

CINNAMINSON, NJ – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that a woodworking company in Alabama is facing over $85,000 in proposed penalties. The company faces fines for allowing combustible wood dust to accumulate, exposing employees to fire and explosion hazards, and failing to ensure employees used protective eyewear and respirators, along with other health and safety issues.

Wood dust is a major concern regarding combustible dust explosions in the work environment. Wood dust has the potential to become combustible if the particles are “fine”, become airborne, and are submitted to an ignition source. When there is a sufficient quantity and concentration of the wood dust, it can cause rapid combustion known as a deflagration. When the event is confined to an enclosed environment, such as in a building, the resulting pressure rise may cause an explosion.

To help prevent these types of hazards, OSHA has developed a list of recommendations for businesses that generate dust hazards. They include:
  • Implementing a hazardous dust inspection, testing, housekeeping and control program;
  • Using proper dust collection systems and filters;
  • Minimizing the escape of dust from process equipment or ventilation systems;
  • Using surfaces that minimize dust accumulation and facilitate cleaning;
  • Providing access to all hidden areas to permit inspection;
  • Inspecting for dust residues in open and hidden areas at regular intervals;
  • If ignition sources are present, using cleaning methods that do not generate dust clouds;
  • Using only vacuum cleaners approved for dust collection; and
  • Locating relief valves away from dust deposits.

“In addition to combustible dust hazards associated with wood dusts, these fine particulates become a potential respiratory problem when they become airborne,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Breathing these dusts may cause allergic respiratory symptoms; mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms; irritation to the eyes, nose and throat; pulmonary function impairment; and even cancer. Western red cedar dust has been shown to cause asthma.”

To help companies comply with combustible dust and occupational airborne hazards, EMSL Analytical offers industrial hygiene and environmental testing services for wood dust and other respiratory concerns and combustible dusts. They also offer a comprehensive range of personal protective equipment (PPE) and real-time air monitoring equipment. EMSL has even sponsored an educational video about combustible dust hazards that can be seen at:

To learn more about combustible hazards, wood dust, and other environmental and industrial hygiene testing services, or for access to air monitoring instruments, respirators and other PPE, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 45 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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