International Fire Code Requires Compliance with NFPA 652

Sep 01, 2017
The 2018 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC) requires the owner or operator of a facility with operations that manufacture, process, blend, convey, repackage, generate or handle potentially combustible dust or combustible particulate solids to comply with the provisions of NFPA 652, Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust. The IFC has been adapted or is in use by 42 States, District of Colombia, New York City, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
According to Chapter 22 of IFC (2018), the requirements of NFPA 652 apply to all new and existing facilities and operations with combustible dust hazard. Existing facilities shall have a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) completed in accordance with the timetables contained in Section 7.1.2 of NFPA 652. The fire code official shall be authorized to order a Dust Hazard Analysis to occur sooner if a combustible dust hazard has been identified in a facility that has not previously performed an analysis.
IFC (2018) maintains existing requirements that prohibit smoking, the use of heating or other devices employing an open flame, or the use of spark-producing equipment in areas where combustible dust is generated, stored, manufactured, processed or handled. Further, the accumulation of combustible dust inside buildings is significantly limited. Accumulated combustible dust shall be collected by vacuum cleaning or other means that will not place combustible dust into suspension in air. Pressurized air shall not be used to remove dust from surfaces.
NFPA 652: Standard on Fundamentals of Combustible Dust
NFPA 652 was first published in September 2015 and provides general requirements for management of combustible dust fire and explosion hazards and directs the user to appropriate NFPA industry or commodity-specific combustible dust standards. It also establishes relationship and hierarchy with industry or commodity-specific standards, ensuring that fundamental requirements are addressed consistently across industries, processes, and dust types.
NFPA 652 requires the owner/operator of any facility with potentially combustible dust to take the following steps:
  • Determine combustibility and explosibility hazards of materials. Absence of previous incidents shall not be used as basis for deeming a particulate non-combustible or non-explosible.
  • Conduct a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) - Identifying and assessing fire, flash fire, and explosion hazards by an expert with demonstrated ability to deal with hazards related to processing and managing combustible particulate solids.
  • Manage identified fire, flash fire, and explosion hazards by considering the prescriptive requirements of NFPA 652. Alternatively, performance based options exist to evaluate ignition source control, as well as the level of design/protection features for the building and the equipment.
  • Establish written safety management systems for preventing or mitigating fires, deflagrations, and explosions. Written management system requirements shall apply to new and existing facilities and processes.