Hot Work and Your Dust Collector

Hot Work and Your Dust Collector

Sometimes it’s necessary to cut or weld, or hot work in the vicinity of your dust collector. However, this can be extremely dangerous if your dust is explosive. A dust collector, after all, is an accumulation of dust.  If that material is combustible, careless hot work could lead to a catastrophic explosion.

“Hot work” is defined by OSHA as “welding, brazing, cutting, soldering, thawing pipes, using heat guns, torch applied roofing and chipping operations, or the use of spark-producing power tools, such as drilling or grinding”. Most of us would think twice about welding or cutting in near a dust collector or any other combustible dust. But some tools, even ones that shouldn’t produce sparks, may have faulty wiring. This can lead to a fire or explosion.

Factory worker carefully welding near a dust collector

Hot Work Procedures

No hot work should be done near the dust collector without the correct procedures (see NFPA 51B). This NFPA standard specifically defines the procedures for conducting this type of work anywhere that it might cause an explosion.

Hot work near or on a dust collector might include repairs or adding/removing a piece of equipment or ductwork. It may include any number of other projects. Before doing this kind of work around the dust collector, you must have a hot work procedure IN WRITING:

  • Shall be in writing and available to anyone conducting hot work in the area
  • It must require an inspection of the work area before the work starts
  • Must have a permit signed to show that all phases of the work have been inspected and approved

The program should assess safety equipment in the area. On a dust collector that might include a spark arrestor, spark detector, fire suppression or sprinkler system, abort gate, explosion venting, or other types of fire and explosion safety devices.

Hot work may require completely blocking the ductwork to the dust collector, or if the work is on or close to the collector, may require removing the filters, emptying or removing the hoppers, and thoroughly cleaning the entire dirty air side of the dust collector. a strong g recommendation is that a fire suppression system is in place before hot work begins. This will suppress any fire that might start. Further, remove as much of the dust as possible if it is explosively combustible.

CMAXX Dust and Fume Collector on welding application

Permits Ensure Safety

NFPA 51B specifies that the company safety specialist will issue a permit for work to proceed once achieving an inspection and determination of safety for hot work. It’s the job of this designated safety specialist to inspect the area of hazards. The specialist ensures the removal of all combustible dust. They confirm the isolation of all sparks and heat and establish safety procedures in the event of a fire.

No one should be allowed to perform ANY type of hot work, including the use of spark-producing power tools, in the vicinity of the dust collector without a permit. However, it happens all the time and puts lives at risk if the dust is combustible. Take the time to assess this hazard in your own workplace. If the hazard exists, your safety professional should set up hot work procedures to make sure no one puts themselves or the facility at risk.

Cutting shelves is one form of hot work in a manufacturing area

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Spark Trap Safety System: Protect your Dust Collector

Spark Trap Safety System: Protect your Dust Collector

Extinguish the threat of explosions with a Spark Trap safety system.

While it is imperative that every metalworking facility have highly efficient dust collection systems, it is just as crucial that metalworking facilities utilize a spark trap safety system to provide even greater protection from these combustible hazards.

spark trap safety systemWe have dedicated over a 15 years to preventing and reducing fires and explosions in metalworking and manufacturing facilities. We also continually strive to meet and exceed the standards recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  Our company also meets the guidelines set out by the National Fire Protection Association with our highly efficient dust collection systems and replacement cartridge filters.

If you’re asking yourself if a spark trap is really necessary– the answer is yes! Consider the findings of the OSHA’s National Emphasis Program.  It shows that metal dust accounts for 20% of explosions nationwide. Also, 7% of ignition sources are ignited by fabricated metals while another 8% of ignition sources are caused by Primary metals. If you want to reduce the possibility of an accident at your metalworking facility, you MUST invest in spark arrestors!

How Can  Spark Trap Safety Systems Reduce Explosions?

Adding a spark trap to your industrial dust collection system is like adding a security system to your home. You already have the proper amount of protection with locks, but installing a security system in your home provides another line of defense, keeping you and your family safe.

Our spark trap, named Spark Arrestor, is the first line of defense in protecting your metal fabricators and your metalworking facility from explosions.  Spark Arrestors extinguish nearly every spark before it enters into the main containment unit where combustible dust and other flammable material collects. When you choose our Spark Arrestors, you’ll receive a quality product made with heavy duty materials that is highly effective at keeping sparks from entering your industrial dust collector.

Here are some key features you’ll receive when you invest in our spark traps:

  • Maintenance free components
  • Fully welded construction
  • Easy install for any system
  • No moving parts
  • Available in carbon steel or stainless steel
  • Can be installed in horizontal or vertical configurations
  • Available in 6in. – 40in.
  • Clean out door
  • Doesn’t require water


Spark Trap Optional Features include:

  • Raw inlet and outlet edges
  • A clamp together function for clamping duct
  • Rolled angle flange for bolt together duct

Want to know more about the Spark Arrestor?  Check out our FAQ to learn all of the benefits of our Spark Trap safety system.

Spark Trap | Spark Traps

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