Dust in Your Facility: A Silent but Serious Hazard
Dust. We live with it every day and usually don’t give it much thought. But in an industrial work environment, dust often accumulates on flat work surfaces, floors, overhead pipes, beams, joists, ducts, equipment, you name it. And that’s when dust becomes dangerous. Dust in all forms is the source of a number of hazards: equipment, health, and fire.
Think about the financial resources you have invested in your machinery. Accumulated dust and particulate debris can cause sluggish and inefficient equipment operations, which slows down production. If dust continues to accumulate, you may run into costly repairs or even irreversible damage requiring a large outlay for new equipment.
Dust and particulates also create an unsafe working environment. Injuries from slipping on dust, eye irritation, and even eye injuries are all dust-related hazards. Long-term hazards include several health issues, such as dermatitis, allergic reactions, and respiratory effects like asthma, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonitis. Certain dusts, such as silica, concrete, wood, and cotton, also have their own particular ill effects.
Then there’s the catastrophic danger of fire and explosion due to combustible dust. Dust from metals, grains, plastics, wood, chemicals, paper, and some textiles, as well as other materials, can cause deflagration, other fires, and even explosions in certain conditions. In fact, OSHA reports that only 1/32 of an inch of dust in only five percent of a room’s surface is enough to lead to an explosion*.
Finally, OSHA’s dust regulations under its Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) are a serious consideration for your business. With the consequences of dust accumulation being severe, OSHA is purposefully maintaining strict inspection guidelines. “Housekeeping” is now ranked second in OSHA citations under NEP, and non-compliance comes with hefty fines.
The only real way to avoid dust-related injuries, illnesses, disasters, citations, and fines is to clean up the dust. When you get dust under control, you’re protecting your people, your equipment, and your entire facility, not to mention your pocketbook.
Environmental Remedies’ personnel are trained and highly experienced in dust control. Give us a call at 800-399-2783 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you with your dust problem. With Environmental Remedies as your partner, you can Be Clean.
* See OSHA’s Appendix D, “Combustible Dust Sampling.”