What was the life of a factory worker like long time ago when industrial exhaust did not exist? If we could turn back time to the 1900s and ask a worker about his daily life, he would be pouring waves of complaints on us for hours.
Working conditions in today’s manufacturing companies cannot be compared to those in the factories of the old times. Development has resulted in a number of revolutionary novelties. Industrial air filtration is to be highlighted among the many areas, as it prevents many undesired effects for both company owners as well as employees. But what are the myths in technological exhaust and air filtration, otherwise considered as facts by many? Today we are going to shed light on seven key myths, which not only prevent efficient operation in a factory but might as well endanger human life.
1. Industrial exhaust and air filtration – they will just cost you
Many believe the right exhaust system is just a waste of money, as it costs you more than you benefit from. It is a huge mistake!
If you image how often they needed to open windows in smoky production halls to get rid of polluted air, you’ll see how much energy they had wasted. Replacement air highly reduced heating efficiently. Nowadays, modern industrial dust exhaust equipment can save us plenty of money.
How can we save up money with industrial exhaust?
- No need to exhaust polluted air, because there is the industrial air cleaner in place to clean and return air into the work area. With such system implemented, there is no need for ventilation equipment and you can cut heating costs radically.
- Minimize scrap quantity and unnecessary machine downtimes. With a properly selected and installed air cleaner in place you don’t need to worry about faultless and continuous operation of the production line anymore, because airborne dust, oil mist, smoke, etc. will cause no more trouble.
- Less chance for employees to get ill, because they can work in an environment with clean atmosphere and free of draught every day.
- May improve productivity significantly. According to a study of the National University of Singapore the productivity of factory workers working in polluted atmosphere dropped after 25 days. Moreover, in accordance with a 10-year long research of the University of South California and University of California it can be stated that a 5 microgram per cubic meter increase in particulate matter reduced productivity by 3 % (about 21 cents an hour).
- Industrial exhaust/air filtration will keep you calm when you need to face unexpected environmental audits, as you will meet all legal requirements.
- Besides preserving employees’ health, the actions for damages and indemnities paid because of impaired health can also be minimized.
2. Industrial/technological exhaust – only higher level of comfort
Although they are aware of the system benefits, some people still believe technological exhaust in a factory is mere luxury. It is by no means just added comfort. Why?
Many papers suggest that polluted air might as well lead to tragedy. Combustible dust, or rather combustible media in general are responsible for the growing number of lethal accident at work worldwide. This is the reason why the past 10-20 years in industrial safety have been witnessing fundamental changes and new rules in the regulation of combustible dust.
Tragedies due to lack of industrial exhaust
A recent article posted by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) discusses a number of safety issues that are being addressed in order to reduce the number of fatalities. In 2010, 51 deaths were reported as a result of carelessness. Many of these deaths were from the grain itself, but many were attributed to the dust and particulates of this grain.
According to Chemical Safety Board, between 2006 and 2017, 111 combustible dust incidents resulted in 66 worker deaths and 337 injuries in the United States. Another article addresses the deficiencies in the information on combustible dusts, the conditions of related accidents, and insufficient database. The article “Combustible Dust Hazard Investigation”, written in 2006, examines three similar explosions occurred in 2003. The author was shocked to realize that none of the agencies had records on the root causes of or even the number of accidents, which means there could have been a lot more explosions than believed. Most root causes may primarily be connected to ignition sources.
Where can we expect and what can we do to prevent such accident?
Explosions due to combustible dusts mainly come from metal, food, wood, rubber, plastic, and pharmaceutical industry. It means factories in these sectors must pay extra attention to the hazards associated with working with combustible dust. Fatalities occur only when combustible materials are handled and processed with substandard industrial equipment that do not comply with the required safety requirements.
A properly selected and installed industrial exhaust/air filtration solution, that is the optimum air cleaner, is essential to run a plant in a safe and regular manner. It is always worth involving experts specialised in technical analysis, establishing zone boundaries, and undertake implementation well.
3. Dust of technological origin is not so dangerous
We have got some bad news for you: not only draught resulting from poorly implemented ventilation system can cause minor or major health problems for employees , but also dust from the applied technology. During welding, for example, dangerous airborne pollutants are released in processing and manufacturing plants. The diameter of these airborne aerosols is in the range of 0.1 to 0.5 microns. (For comparison, human hair is 100 microns in thickness). In other words, those tiny particles are smaller than viruses. The lighter a particle is the easier it gets through the lungs into the blood. The reason for it is bad news is that these fumes are extremely toxic. It is no accident that there are legal requirements in place to limit their presence in factories. And what kind of symptoms do they cause?
With no industrial exhaust in place they can irritate the eye, nose, and throat. When inhaled, they might cause long-lasting influenza-like symptoms. In extreme case welding fumes can cause gastric ulcer, damages to the kidneys and to the nervous system. Welding fumes may contain toxic metals such as Chromium and Manganese. The latter one, for instance, can cause serious neurological problems similar to Parkinson disease. Chromium is known to be a highly carcinogenic matter.
Oil mist: the sly killer
Oil mist is known to raise a number of serious health concerns in modern production environment. Oil mist means vapours of heated oil or emulsion (emulsion of water and oil). Many trades, including modern metallurgy (turningm drilling, milling, etc.) require proper greases and coolants. During processing oil mist is released from these materials, partly because of temperature and partly by mechanical impacts; without appropriate industrial exhaust in place, oil mist present direct danger to workers as well as working environment.
They might contain chemicals that irritate skin, eye, nose, throat, and lungs. Thermal processes can produce pulverised particles smaller than a micron and are easy for workers to inhale. Depending on the chemical environment a worker is exposed to the liquid, he or she is at risk of getting a number of diseases. Long-term exposure by inhalation can cause asthma or chronic bronchitis. And if it is not enough, microorganisms, and fungi found in various mists also threatens worker’s health.
When a plant turns to a slide park
It should also be considered that oil mist can deposit and accumulate on different surfaces to form oil and grease film. It not only makes a bad impression on employees and visitors, but can be a cause of comic slips. However, accidents on slippery floor are hardly funny …
That is why it is extremely important to collect and filter those harmful matters to reduce potential health risks. The good news is we have the right solution, the technological exhaust and air filtration to eliminate those problems.
4. My workers’ health is a matter of conscience
We have learned the main factors that threaten workers’ health due to lack of appropriate industrial exhaust. However, if we are still unconvinced about the importance of exhaust systems, the relevant legal rules are also worth investigating. But which decree do we refer to and what does it regulate exactly?
So as to save some time, the most crucial information normally regulated by Joint Decree no 3/2002. (II. 8.) SzCsM-EüM on the minimum safety requirements for the workplace, have been collected. This decree discusses „in confined workplaces healthy air in sufficient quantity and at required quality shall be provided in consideration of the applied processes and physical load of employees. Where workplace atmosphere may be polluted by gases, vapours, aerosols, dusts (fibres), then the requirements specified in the relevant rules apply.” Moreover, ”systems used for ventilation shall be maintained to ensure uninterrupted and efficient operation.”
Industrial Exhaust, Air filtration – it does matter how
If the above rules are not convincing enough, it is also worth knowing that in under the decree in the course of determining the mode, type, and rate of forced ventilation some other factors including the characteristics of the activity and technology, the degree of air pollution, and the specific quantity of air pollutant released per unit time, and the volume of the room must also be accounted for. Ventilation systems must be kept clean, and all deposits and pollutions must be removed without delay. Measures must be in place to prevent stirring up of pollutants and from draughts/air motions with adverse health effect.
What’s more, the scope of technological exhaust also extends to where the air replacing the exhausted air should come from. Fresh air intake must be supplied from “the cleanest point in the surrounding environment determined by measurement documents and in consideration of the release and emission points of pollutants as well as meteorological factors. A fresh air intake points shall be at least 8 metres from traffic (public road) and at least 2.5 metres above ground level. In case of air intake located above roof minimum 3 metres must be kept between air intake and air exhaust. As necessary, supplied air must be pre-heated or cooled, and moisturized with water of potable water quality. To ensure intake air quality the rules on environmental air quality shall be applied, and therefore intake air must be cleaned if necessary.”
Duties you better know about
Industrial exhaust solution gives rise to further requirements, because “during commissioning, measurements shall be taken in ventilation systems to ensure air is supplied in the required quantity and quality.” The relevant measurement records/ certificates must be preserved by the employer.
Please note that “technical systems providing pressurized, equalized, and depression ventilation shall be deemed safety systems, whose operation must be inspected and audited by measurements regularly with frequency specified in the relevant legal regulation.”
It is therefore crucial to know about and adhere to these legal requirements, because a wrong decision, made on business considerations, can have serious consequences.
5. There is no connection between industrial exhaust and labour migration
Ignorance of the above legal rules and workers’ health are ignored can lead to additional problems you would not imagine of. As managers we know our employees’ skills and values. We know how much the company would lose if we lost them. Recruiting costs plenty of time and money. If you are lucky and you managed to have a good recruit at the end of the day, you still need to spend a lot of time and money on training.
However, many fail to align the lack of optimized industrial exhaust and employees leaving the company. But let’s just think about it: if your workers feel they work at a company that is eager to provide working conditions of European level, then they will probably appreciate it, otherwise qualified labour can easily find a job with good working conditions.
So if you want to prevent your workers leaving your company, it is important to win their appreciation. With the right industrial exhaust system in place your people can work in an environment they like to work in every day. On the other hand, there no need for the manager to be afraid of losing an indispensable specialist.
6. Technological exhaust: any filter will do
Now we know that technological exhaust can provide workers with healthy working environment, can help us comply with all relevant legal regulations, prevent damages, lawsuits, and losses caused by employees’ leaves, and can significantly improve productivity. However, the selection of the right exhaust system and air cleaner opens up a number of new issues. How to select such equipment? Which type will improve working conditions effectively? How shall I maintain the system? Will exhaust be efficient?
Let us stop and think for a while. A high-quality, well-selected air cleaner in place is one thing, but it needs the air to clean. So the cleaner must trap dust, smoke, and mist as efficiently as possible, but must prevent overexhaust and not to get any spice in the bag. It means there are many things to consider, otherwise system efficiency gets compromised.
If you investigate these issues in detail to find the right answers, we will encounter universal solutions, which might as well look practical at first sight, , because they have multiple exhaust functions. They can be used to filter soldering and welding fumes and grinding dusts. But why is the universal solution a bad idea if the ultimate goal is to have efficient technological exhaust and air filtration?
Special Problem – Special Filter
The biggest drawback of universal solutions is they are not as efficient industrial exhaust as specialised equipment. Think about it: there is not much help of your General Practitioner when you need brain surgery. As each disease needs special treatment and care, so you will find different particle sizes released from soldering, welding, and grinding, and therefore you will need different filter type for perfect filtration. An exhaust system installed in a canteen, for example, is responsible for removing different particles than an exhaust installed in a welding plant.
It is always worth asking professional specialists about the right exhaust system that will deliver the required parameters in our plant. The best you can do is to request a bespoke quotation, and chose a company, which offers turn-key solution, including design, implementation, and warranty.
7. Comfort functions always come in handy
If you feel there are no more questions to answer in industrial exhaust, there is the ultimate dilemma waiting for you before the final decision. When you select your equipment, it is hard to resist the temptation of comfort functions. You may feel you want a perfect system for the high price you pay for it. So you want sensors, controls, and saturation indicators too. Do they really worth it?
Before you accept a quotation, keep in mind that options might as well be sources of extra faults. Industrial exhaust systems stop on account of breakdown often, and unnecessary maintenance significantly disturb production. But there can be even more banal and evident reason why such comfort functions are unnecessary. If you think these equipment are covered with dust and dirt in the plant, so will the sensors and displays be covered with dust, and will not be visible anyway. Instead, focus on exhaust as your ultimate goal, so you can minimize the chance of breakdown. Just to be on the safe side, seek help and support from an experienced specialist, who can offer and implement the best customized solution to you.
Industrial Exhaust: Let the Professionals Do the Job!
When you give the above myths a careful consideration it turns out that industrial exhaust is a critical factor in the life of a plant. An exhaust system installed in the chemical or catering industry must be designed carefully and all relevant parameters in the room must be taken into account. Unfortunately, four out of five industrial exhaust distributors in Hungary do not care where the equipment is going to be installed, because their goal is to sell. For example, they fail to survey whether there is sufficient air supply in the room. Air supply is important, because there is no air to exhaust without sufficient air supply. As a result, you can say farewell to system efficiency as well as your money.
That is why it is important to hire engineers and professional installers instead of salesmen to implement your system, because they have a complex approach to every issue: how can you trap pollution, which is the most efficient filter equipment, and how is it related to the existing air balance in the building? Engineers survey your needs for a high efficiency system quickly and precisely. With a carefully and precisely designed system in place in your plant, not only can you preserve workers’ health but also save money.