Christmas is next week, which means there is only a little over a week left in 2018. I’m sure you’ve been busy preparing for the New Year, and what better time than now to reevaluate actions and decisions that we’re made within the past year. For Plant Managers, the overall environmental safety and cleanliness of your facility should be one of those evaluations.
Can you look back within the year and know that your building was properly cleaned and maintained? Is the dirt and dust in your facility that could be causing quality issues regularly removed? If no, not only do you run the risk of receiving a hefty fine, but most importantly the workers of your building are not safe. So, here are five reasons why you should have the dust in your facility removed, and start fresh in 2019 with a clean and safe work environment.
- Quality Control Issues
Dust on the floor is a sign that there is dust elsewhere in the building, including high up and out-of-sight areas. When the dust on these rafters and pipes is disturbed it can fall down onto machinery and production equipment, causing quality control problems and even damaging the machinery.
Clogged HVAC System
Typically, the dust you can actually see with the naked eye only accounts for ten percent of the total amount of dust in the air. These smaller particles can stay suspended in the air for days at a time, where they can work their way into the HVAC system. Over time, this dust can clog the ventilation system, causing it to work harder and less efficiently, as well as recycling dirty air back into the building.
Health Risks and Accidents
Dust particles 2.5 microns or smaller are able to get into the lower sections of people’s lungs, where they can’t be brought up or dissolved in the bloodstream. These particles can cause health issues such as allergies, respiratory problems, lung disease, and in some cases even cancer. Even bigger pieces of dust can cause allergies and illness in workers.
Dust can also be a slipping hazard when it collects on walking surfaces; the small particles reduce the traction that people are used to when walking in a building. Slips are one of the main causes of workplace injury, and within those injuries dust is one of the main causes of those slips.
Risk of Combustible Dust Explosion
Many types of dust become explosive under the right conditions, and there have been numerous cases of uncleaned dust coming into contact with an ignition source and exploding. The dust explosion pentagon has been created to explain how these explosions form and how to prevent them, and OSHA and the NFPA have been developing new codes to help combat this issue.
OSHA has been paying attention to the dangers that dust in the workplace can create and has been cracking down on companies that aren’t following housekeeping rules. The Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program was created by OSHA to deal with this issue, and has already cited almost five thousand businesses for dust accumulations, with fines ranging from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands.