Dust is an often underestimated workplace hazard, yet it is a serious danger in industries like woodworking. Mild exposure can severely irritate the senses and aggravate asthma symptoms. Over time, it can even scar the lungs and cause irreversible damage. The size of dust particles also has a big impact. To put it simply, finer particles are more dangerous since they travel farther, stay in the air longer, and make it deeper into your lungs.
The Dangers of Dust
Dust particles that are large enough to be visible usually gather on surfaces, or get trapped in the nostrils. Dualdraw.com and other experts say that you shouldn’t think that your workplace is safe only because everything looks “clean.” The actual threat cannot be seen by human eyes. If you allow fine dust particles to remain in your environment, it will cause long term harm to employees.
What Can You Do
Your goal should be to eliminate dust thoroughly from your entire facility. A stand-alone dust collection booth is effective for this purpose, while being quite affordable. Installing an efficient HVAC system to control and filter airflow is also a good idea.
Making employees wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE) like dust masks or respirators can also help control the problem, but this is not reliable on its own. It depends if workers are always wearing the mask during work hours, and this could prove to be an inconvenience if they don’t. At most, this should be a supplementary measure.
By taking care of this matter now, you will prevent serious health issues and potential liability in the future. It is a good idea to bring in an occupational health and safety consultant to assess your workplace. This will give you a detailed analysis of what needs to be fixed, and the most efficient way to do it. When you consider the benefits, this is an investment that’s well worth it.