Industrial dust and fume extraction systems form a vital part in protecting workers from the harmful effects of dusts, fumes and gases emitted by processes in the workplace. Overexposure to these dust and fume particles could result in illnesses such as occupational asthma and other occupational lung diseases. Even though the number of accident related deaths are reducing over the long term, deaths due to exposure remain stubbornly high.
Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems are an important way of controlling exposure to hazardous substances and generally come in two distinct categories; dust collection and fume extractions systems.
We at MECHON to design dust control systems that are able capture, convey, collect and filter dust-laden air from a variety of manufacturing processes within the aerospace, food, chemical, pharmaceutical, automotive and woodworking industries. The systems are normally defined by their dust collection and filtration ability, usually achieved by large fabric or cartridge baghouse filter units with automated cleaning systems.
Fume control systems are generally designed to capture particulate with sizes of less than 1 micron. The filtration of air in fume control systems is more generally more complex than that of dust systems and usually require advanced scrubbing or activated carbon filtration systems.
Many companies fail to install effective dust and fume extraction (LEV systems), as they are unaware of the importance of good hood and filtration design. An ineffective hood design will result in the poor capture of dust and fumes, no matter how good the remainder of the LEV system is. MECHON pays particular attention to the nature of the hazardous substance, including: hazard identification, occupational (workplace) exposure limits, volatility, toxicity, explosive limits, corrosiveness, and chemical compatibility. Correctly designed hoods and filter abatement systems will ensure lower exposure levels to contaminated air, reduced extraction rates, and minimal disruption to the process. The HSE offer guidance on these issues in their latest publication, HSG 258: ‘Controlling Airborne Contaminants at Work’.