In industries like construction, earthworks, and mining, airborne particle generation constitutes a significant problem. Here, the workers are highly vulnerable to health risks from the dust generated by airborne particles.
It’s why the safety standards in these types of workplaces focus on the importance of efficient equipment for dust monitoring and dust control. Dust monitoring devices using optical technology are the most widely used monitoring devices. They are versatile and easy to maintain.
Here is a look at the reasons for effective dust monitoring in these places.
Why Monitor Dust in the Workplace?
Airborne particulates and aerosols pose a considerable threat to the safety and health of the workers and employees. Dust hazards cannot be seen from the naked eye. The smallest of the particles can pose a huge threat mainly due to their capacity to go deep into an individual’s lungs. Thus, proactive monitoring figures as a critical element in an efficient risk management strategy.
Two crucial reasons for dust monitoring in the workplace include managing air quality and maintaining regulatory compliance. Suppose an individual comes into contact with dust. In that case, they will start to experience symptoms like headaches, eye irritation, coughing, sneezing, and fatigue almost immediately.
Bad air quality indoors minimises the productivity of employees and also leads to greater absenteeism because of sickness. Moreover, the long-term deteriorating effects of particulates are responsible for severe and dangerous illnesses. Therefore, every employer must ensure that all their employees and visitors do not get exposed to bad air quality. For this, monitoring dust in the air is essential.
What are the Regulatory Requirements for Dust Monitoring?
According to the Occupational Health Services Australia, an effective strategy for dust control includes:
- Creation of a proactive program for dust control.
- Analysis and monitoring of airborne dust.
- Application of correction action to limit production of dust and control employee exposure to it.
Plant Layout Practices for Effective Dust Monitoring
For ensuring that the air has a minimal quantity of dust in it, good practices regarding plant layout include the following:
- Separation of non-dusty and dusty operations.
- The enclosure of dusty equipment and transfer areas. Dust should be extracted via an exhaust system.
- Implementing collapsible windsocks at the points of discharge of stockpile conveyors.
- Prevention of empty chutes.
- Provision of an operator room that is dust-free under positive air pressure.
What Can Be Expected from Robust Dust Monitoring?
Some of the outcomes that can be visible in workplaces that have a system for effective dust monitoring include:
- Quality of air assessment in real-time.
- Detection of sites that generate heavy dust.
- Creation of a solid dust control program technique around the site.
- Application of dust prevention measures and tactics.
In heavy dust production sites, implementing dust monitoring devices that meet and even surpass the OHSA guidelines is crucial. But as the range and size of the Particulate Matter differ with different sources and applications, the decision to choose a specific dust monitoring equipment should be a careful one.
Particulate Matter or PM generated from the material transfer, explosions, vehicular traffic, quarries, and diesel generators around mines comes in the range of 1 to 100 microns. You should decide on a specific dust monitor after carefully evaluating your particular needs and end-applications.
Potentially harmful dust, like sugarcane fiber, asbestos, silica, and cotton dust, can produce any form of lung damage. But you can eliminate such scenarios with a proper dust control plan. Developing a dust control strategy is key to avoiding dangerous illnesses like tuberculosis and ensuring the welfare of you and your employees.