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Why ventilation is important in hazardous environments 02/03/2013

Safety is the most important aspect in any working environment, especially so during industrial processes where hazardous materials might be present. What might not be immediately apparent to the layman is the danger posed by dust particles in factories, particularly where there is a danger that they might ignite. In large enough quantities there may be an explosion, with obvious consequences.

For example, any factory that grinds or finishes metalwork is at risk from a fine cloud of metal dust that is generated in the industrial process. Dust from otherwise benign metals such as steel and aluminium can be particularly dangerous if exposed to a spark, and require special handling techniques.

One such method is through what’s known as the wet dust collector. There are other kinds of technology available, but by using this device, companies can significantly reduce the chances of industrial accidents.

ventilation in hazardous environments

In such a device, fans suck air from the dust-afflicted workspace and onto or through water. Often this is done through a fine spray, so that the dust particles are separated from the air, which can then be pumped back – clean – into the work space. The particles extracted in this way aren’t wasted – depending on their composition, they can be removed from the water (say, by evaporation), and then reused in other industrial processes. Metallic sludge removed in this way can be used in concrete, for example.

The technology itself is entirely scalable. What works on a large scale in a big factory also functions efficiently on a single work bench, where particles can be blown directly into a wet filtration system and out of harm’s way. This small-scale use is important as it allows many separate processes to take place close to each other, thus saving on factory space.

Wet filtration isn’t the only method available, and on a large scale it should be combined with other technologies to give the best results. This is especially the case if work evolves dust particles of differing sizes that may be better suited to dry filters.

Whatever the solution, it’s always advisable to think of the safety of the worker first.

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