We’ve discussed the perils of airborne dust if it is combustible and caught in conditions that can cause an explosion. Fugitive dust can likewise pose a safety hazard if employees are breathing it because of deficient dust control.
Fugitive dust that creates a health risk is categorized as either inhalable dust or respirable dust.
Inhalable dust is larger, heavier particles that often lodge in the nose, throat or upper respiratory tract.
Respirable dust comprises smaller, finer particles that can make their way deep into the lungs and respiratory system; they can evade the body’s natural cleaning systems, such as mucous membranes.
Without proper dust control, airborne dust can endanger both personnel and the greater community. The amount that collects in the air determines its degree of risk, and the threat is limited only by how far the dust can travel. Black lung disease (coal workers’ pneumoconiosis) is but one example of how fugitive dust can lead to great harm.
Beyond its risks to health, airborne dust can result in damaged equipment, lost resources to correcting the dust problem, higher insurance expenses and costly regulatory penalties.
Benetech: Your Solution for a Dust-Free Work Environment
Benetech, Inc. specializes in material flow safety. We help bulk material handlers remove fugitive dust from their material flow through:
Dust Containment – restricting airborne dust with engineered transfer chute technology that draws less air into the transfer point, seals leaks where dust can escape and gives particles time to sift from the air
Dust Filtration – lowering air velocity through air and dust extraction that increases dust-particle size and makes dust cluster before it returns to the bulk material flow
Dust Suppression – increasing dust weight and adhesion by combining particles with an atomized mist, which drives the particles down to the ground or leads them back into the material flow
Benetech further enhances your dust-control objectives with:
- Inspection doors that give easy access to hidden areas
- Belt cleaners that prevent carryback and spillage
- Belt support and containment that restrict the escape of fugitive dust
- GreenTarp™ dust control for inactive piles and ground covers
- Washdown systems that make cleaning efficient and easy
We also evaluate existing dust filtration, containment and suppression systems, troubleshoot for any flaws and advise you on how to correct them. Benetech specialists further consult with you in following OSHA recommendations for material flow safety and a dust-free work environment.
Case Study: Texas Power Plant Washdown System
Situation: Dust buildup was becoming a greater concern at the plant, which handled Power River Basin (PRB) coal. Fugitive dust that could be breathed became a growing problem, as did the potential for combustion.
To keep the areas clean, current housekeeping applied the hosing down of all areas, a time-consuming task. Cleaning just one of the 13 coal-handling buildings required several men working more than a day.
To lessen health risk, ensure compliance and save on O&M costs, plant management installed a manually operated washdown system. The system drew water from the property’s cooling lake, which replenished itself by pumping water from the nearby Colorado River.
Maintaining water balance became a problem, however, as the system could draw only so much water at a time. It needed 200 gallons per minute (GPM) for the balance required.
Solution: Plant management wanted to maintain a manual system so building operators could monitor the washdown cycles. Benetech engineered, procured and constructed a 200 GPM manual washdown system in all 13 coal-handling buildings from the rail car dumper to the unit trippers. For optimal efficiency, Benetech split the spray zones so plant personnel could operate the system while reclaiming fuel.
Customer Result: With the new washdown systems in place, the plant has greater control of fugitive dust. It saves valuable time and resources for housekeeping as well: Washing down each area requires only one employee working for one hour. Even more, the plant uses up to 40% less water than when it had been using a fire hose.
The plant is notably cleaner, particularly in the high-bay building and other hard-to-access areas. The work environment is safer, and the plant’s insurance costs went down because of the new system’s installation.
Take Greater Command of Fugitive Dust Starting Now
Benetech gives you greater control of airborne dust that can become a health hazard. Contact us at (630) 844-1300 today to speak with a Benetech specialist about ensuring a safe material flow and a dust-free work environment.
Posted in Dust Control