Focus on Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA)


A Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) is the process owner’s systematic and documented review of their materials, dusts, processes, and facility – in order to identify potential fire and explosion hazards. This documentation is frequently referred to as a DHA Report. This review includes the identification of existing safeguards, and more importantly it addresses recommendations for additional mitigation or safeguards.

Does my facility really need a DHA ?

If your facility handles combustible dust, NFPA Standard 652 is very clear that you must have a documented DHA. The deadline for existing facilities was September 7, 2020. It is retroactive, for existing facilities – there is no ‘grandfather’ clause or exemption. Also—any new/future process that potentially handles combustible dust, must have a DHA (this will frequently be requested by a city/county plan-check desk, fire Marshall, or other authority). If you are unsure if your dust or material is combustible (at risk for fire or explosion), you should have the material tested. NFPA clearly proclaims that the absence of prior events (fires, explosions) is NOT a valid method of determining combustibility.

Five Steps in a typical DHA

1.) Gather data: dust properties/testing, machinery specifications, building layouts, current safeguards, records review

2.) List and Segment the processes and equipment that handle particulates.
For EACH segment or node:
Identify if a combustion risk is present
Examine existing safeguards
Evaluate level of risk
Make recommendations for improvement

3.) Evaluate common/ambient areas for transitory ‘nuisance’ dust accumulation

4.) Consider human/policy impacts of Safety Management Systems: Housekeeping, safety training, management of change

5.) Review and update the DHA every 5 years, or whenever there is a significant change to the process or materials.

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