If you work in a woodshop or any environment in which wood is processed, chances are you’re aware of the dangers of sharp saw blades and other equipment, but are you aware of the serious risks posed by wood dust?
WOOD DUST PREVENTION EQUIPMENT
Dangers of Wood Dust
Wood Dust Health Risks
Wood dust may look harmless, but in fact, it’s one of the deadliest hazards in the workplace. Wood dust is classified as a carcinogen, a substance capable of causing cancer. Studies have shown a direct link between wood dust exposure and early cancer exposure in the nasal region.
What is a carcinogen? Carcinogens are substances that can affect the way in which human cells reproduce. Essentially, carcinogens can change the blueprint of our DNA, which can lead malignant cells to multiply at an abnormal rate, a process we refer to as cancer. Click here to see a full list of known and probable carcinogens.
Dust from walnut, birch, elm, oak, beech, ash, and mahogany woods can cause “nasal cancer” if exposure exceeds the limits that OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) sets for the woodworking industry. Western red cedar has also been found to cause occupational asthma.
On July 27, 2015 OSHA fined Oak Creations Inc. in Montana $50,000 for 21 safety hazard citations after a mandatory inspection following the passing of 55-year-old Tom Hegg, a cabinetmaker of 15 years. “Acute, long-term exposure to wood dust” was named as the cause of Hegg’s death.
HOW TO PREVENT DUST COLLECTION
Wood Dust Explosions
Wood dust also poses a serious threat to the safety of wood workers in the form of wood dust explosions. The combustible quality of wood dust lends itself to explosions or fires in plants that do not adhere to safety requirements.
Under the right circumstances, several materials and substances commonly found in workshops and factories can lead to explosions. The force of an explosion can cause death and bodily injury to workers and can result in massive damage and loss to facilities. In 2010, three workers were killed in a titanium dust explosion, and in 2008, 14 workers were killed in a sugar dust explosion in Georgia.
Wood Dust and Decreased Productivity
In addition to causing safety concerns, an accumulation of wood dust can put a damper on productivity as employees try to work through the mess or stop to clean frequently. Wood dust particles can also infiltrate wood finishing processes, diminishing production quality.
How do I prevent wood dust?
Wood Dust Collection Systems
Wood dust collection systems gather dust from your workshop or factory in order to prevent health hazards, fires, explosions, and other safety risks.
LEARN MORE ABOUT DUST COLLECTORS
Wood dust collection systems like those produced by Bedson REPS keep your employees safe, your environments clean, and your processes on track with the proper dust collection system. Custom dust collection systems can also be implemented for lumber mills, furniture companies, cabinet businesses, plywood manufacturing operations, and other woodworking services.
After carefully assessing your workplace layout and your production processes, a dust collection systems specialist can design the most effective and cost efficient wood dust collection system for your unique situation. A few pieces of information a specialist will gather during an assessment include:
- The amount of wood dust your production emits
- How much wood dust you will need to store before disposal
- Whether your wood dust collector needs to be inside or outside
- Characteristics of the wood dust produced by your plant
- Whether your production is constant or periodic
- Your environment’s “airflow requirement in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)”
Types of Wood Dust Collectors
Cyclone Dust Collectors
The cyclone dust collector is a sort of air purifier that uses the helical rotation of a centrifugal fan to isolate wood dust particles from an air stream with approximately 90-95% efficiency.
Air contaminated with wood dust spirals through the Cyclone from its wide peak to its narrow base, while particles are separated from the air through the cyclical motion.
Bigger fragments of wood dust drop to the floor of the cyclone to be extracted later. The clean air then departs through the middle of the cyclone. The optional filter bag catches the particles expelled through the action of the cyclone. The Cyclone can handle applications ranging from 300-13,000 CFM.
Baghouse collectors can be used inside or in an enclosed area outside to collect wood dust that has passed through a primary dust collector like the Cyclone. In the case of non-toxic dust collection, baghouse filters allow air to re-circulate after being purified, saving your business money on energy expenses.
Support the Woodworking Industry
We all appreciate quality woodworking as it contributes to offices and homes in the form of cabinets, furniture, doors, floors, paneling, structural supports, and more. Bedson REPS recognizes the people behind the fine wood products and wants to help businesses in the woodworking industry keep their employees safe and their environments tidy. That’s why we go beyond just offering wood dust collection products.
We’re happy to help you assess your needs and design a custom wood dust collection system for your plant. If your business accumulates wood dust as a byproduct of your production, contact our Memphis team today to experience our hands-on approach to wood dust collection and our dedication to customer service for the woodworking industry.