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Combustible Dust Testing

Category Press Release
Publish Date 5/24/2022
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Recycling Company Cited by OSHA for Combustible Dust Safety and Health Violations
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides combustible dust testing services and air monitoring instruments to protect workers and to help keep companies in regulatory compliance.

Cinnaminson, New Jersey, May 24th, 2022

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that a Pennsylvania plastic recycler faces over $88,000 in proposed penalties for exposing workers to combustible dust hazards. The agency cited the company for one willful, seven serious, and one other-than-serious safety and health violations following two inspections.

According to OSHA, workplace hazards included the company permitting dangerous amounts of combustible dust to build up on surfaces that possibly could ignite due to open electrical equipment in the area. The company was previously cited for some of the same violations in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020.

Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under certain conditions. They can be a potentially deadly hazard for workers and can cause catastrophic destruction to property. OSHA reports that five elements are necessary to initiate a dust explosion, often referred to as the Dust Explosion Pentagon. The first three elements are those needed for a fire, i.e., the familiar Fire Triangle:

  • Combustible dust (fuel)
  • Ignition source (heat)
  • Oxygen in air (oxidizer)


An additional two elements must be present for a combustible dust explosion:

  • Dispersion of dust particles in sufficient quantity and concentration
  • Confinement of the dust cloud


“The recycling industry is just one of many industries that have to carefully manage combustible dust hazards,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Monitoring environmental conditions is critical for these industries to prevent a combustible dust explosion and to comply with health and safety regulations. To help in these efforts, EMSL Analytical’s laboratories provides combustible dust testing services and air monitoring instruments to support safety programs.” 

EMSL has also sponsored an educational video about combustible dust hazards that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/xX0apupkO3E

To learn more about combustible dust testing or air monitoring instruments, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.


About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories 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-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com 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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