Best Practice for Brewery Grain Dust Management

Our local building inspector is giving us grief over our grain dust procedures. We feel we have taken reasonable precautions, like an explosion proof motor on the mill, and enclosing the mill itself. However, I cannot find any documentation to justify our practices, so we are at an impasse. We are a 3 bbl nano with a 8 lb/min 2-roller mill. Very small.

My questions are:

1) What regulations exist that cover brewery dust management in your locality?

2) How do you know the rate of dust creation from your mill? Does the mfg provide specs on this?

3) What is the best practice/equipment for removing the dust from the air? What are your practices?

The Safety Exchange Says: NFPA Title 61 and OSHA 29 CFR 1910.272 are two important standards that relate to the combustible dust, however they lack specific guidance on malt dust. Different materials have a different propensity to combust. A great resource from Georgia Tech can be found here. OSHA rules on respiratory protection can also come into play, as malt dust is irritating to the lungs and mucous membranes.

The rate of dust creation for a particular mill isn’t generally available. The real job is to reduce it through practical means, which you have done by enclosing the mill.

The best practice for avoiding a dust explosion is thorough and regular housekeeping. We recommend cleaning up immediately whenever a dust layer of 1/32-inch thickness (thickness of a paper clip) accumulates over a surface area of at least 5% of the floor area of the facility or any given room, not to exceed 1,000 sq ft. Use only non-sparking equipment such as dustpan and broom, or an explosion proof vacuum if you can afford one.