Friday, April 27, 2012

Sawmills ordered to control dust after deadly explosions

Sawmills have to do more to
protect workers from sawdust,
regulators say.
After two recent mill explosions in Canada’s British Columbia, sawmills must remove all accumulated sawdust from their premises

High levels of sawdust in sawmills have proven to be unpredictable occupational health risks.

This week, a devastating blast destroyed a sawmill in Prince George, killing two workers and wounding many others. In January, a sawmill exploded in Burns Lake, also claiming two victims.

The dust has been cited in reports before as a major concern, and now authorities are making it official that mills have to control the dust in their operations and clear it away on equipment and the ambient air.

The air in sawmills should be well ventilated and the sawdust removed from all species and types of wood, officials said.

Potentially dangerous conditions could put workers at other mills at risk.

Source: Globe and Mail

Sawdust also a respiratory risk

It’s not only explosions sawmill workers have to worry about – they could also risk their health by breathing in high levels of dust over a long time.

Extensive dust exposure can lead to cancer of the lungs, throat and nose as well as other lung conditions like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) that involves chronic bronchitis and emphysema, studies have shown.

Doctors say that woodworkers face 70 to 80 times the risk of a particular for of nasal cancer, which may develop decades after exposure to wood dust. Many other woodworkers report developing asthma as a result of their exposure to wood dust.

Clean the air with high-efficiency air cleaners

Electrocorp's Dirty Dog air cleaner
can be mounted onto the ceiling
or used on the ground.
In sawmills, woodshops and other high-dust environments, an industrial-strength air filtration system designed to handle a lot of fine dust can help reduce risks and provide cleaner air.

With a special bag filter option designed for large particle filtration, Electrocorp products such as the Dirty Dog or the I-6500 with Cyclone attachment are well equipped to work in environments with heavy sawdust or drywall dust.

The bag filters are easy to clean and reusable. This is an excellent option for situations where a HEPA filter would become blocked too quickly to be effective.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

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