What You Didn’t Know About Dust Collection Systems Could Kill You

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Welding fume extraction

If you work in welding, cutting, or brazing, there could be some serious health hazards associated with your job. You want to make sure that your employers are up to date on the latest safety codes and comply with OSHA regulations as well. For example, make sure you have some kind of good ventilation or collection system, like an aluminum dust collection system that keeps you from breathing in toxic metallic substances that can also be flammable and cause major accidents. Depending on what materials you work with, make sure you have either a general dust collection system or one more specialized, like a fiberglass dust collection system or a carbon fiber dust collection system.
What’s The Risk?
Between 2009 and 2013, there were 57 combustible dust incidents reported that killed over 25 people and injured almost 130. As another example, there was a news story in West Virginia in 2010 that covered the deaths of three workers due to a titanium dust explosion. Unfortunately, not much changed after that and things continued to get worse until 2014, when the U.S. Chemical Safety Board demanded OSHA to take action and work to reform their regulations.
Past the more flashy explosions, there are also medical consequences for being regularly exposed to the dust. In 2001, a NIOSH study discovered that workers who ground concrete to smooth poured concrete surfaces after the forms were all stripped were exposed to dangerous levels of airborne dust that had crystalline silica in it–over 35 to 55 times the amount that NIOSH recommends people be exposed to. Crystalline silica is responsible for causing silicosis, a type of lung fibrosis, which can disable and even kill people. Having a system like aluminum dust collection can help prevent this type of exposure.
What Can Be Done To Prevent These Accidents?
Any manufacturing plant or business that deals with these types of dusts should have industrial dust collection systems, whether they’re specialized like aluminum dust collection systems or more general. Generally, there should be a few different systems that exclusively pick up certain types of dust, in order to avoid mixing flammable and explosive dusts. These systems can either be wet or dry and must be well maintained to prevent accidents.
Additionally, having good ventilation in the area is also important. Mechnical ventilation systems usually come in one of two varieties: a low-vacuum system and a high-vacuum system. A low-vacuum system ought to have a hood as close to the work being done as is safely possible and give off good air flow with a velocity of about 100 linear feet per minute at its farthest point from the work being done. A high-vacuum system will have a bit more pressure and should not be placed as close to the work as the low vacuum system.
There can be severe penalties from the government and other groups if worker safety is not regulated. Additionally, the loss of life and decrease in quality of life for workers impacted by high exposure to these types of dusts is inhumane. Be sure your company or business has invested in a dust collection system and ventilation system for the safest environment possible.

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