A Communication Framework for Improving Awareness of Combustible Dust Hazards
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The hazards associated with combustible dusts are not universally well known, particularly when compared to a somewhat similar hazard, flammable gas. The primary resources currently used in communication about dust explosions are journal publications and conference proceedings. The knowledge presented in these sources would need to be translated and presented in a range of formats for it to become relevant and available to all those who could benefit from the knowledge. Different groups require different approaches in terms of the complexity and depth of the information, its format, and the method of delivery, among other factors. A literature review was conducted on topics such as communication, knowledge management, and diffusion of innovations. This allowed for a better understanding of how to best communicate information to diverse groups to their benefits. A communication strategy framework was developed for the purpose of improving safety awareness of combustible dust hazards among a diverse audience. Eight diverse target groups were identified as needing access to dust explosion information. The needs of each of these groups were evaluated, and recommendations were made in terms of resource development, resource dissemination and in support of an open organizational culture. This knowledge was implemented in the development of a specific combustible dust hazard resource. A teaching module geared specifically towards undergraduate engineering students was developed.