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Understanding And Resolving Risks Of Combustible Dust In The Pharmaceutical Industry

Source: Nilfisk Industrial Vacuums

An estimated 30,000 U.S. facilities are at risk for a combustible dust fire or explosion according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many of you are likely thinking, “Well, not my company.” Are you sure? Since 1980, there have been at least 350 documented dust explosions in the U.S., killing more than 100 people and injuring hundreds more.

While the entire pharmaceutical industry must be aware of combustible dust from active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and excipient ingredients, the production of oral solid dosage (OSD) drugs is the most at risk. Most ingredients are powders, and the very nature of these products makes them prone to dust creation. While powder ingredients are obvious sources, even pellets and granules bring with them broken pieces, particulate and dust that can become airborne.