Down draft tables may seem like they’re just handy industrial dust collection systems, but they’re quite a bit more important than that. In fact, down draft tables could potentially save employees’ lives. Here’s how.
Breathing dust can lead to terrible diseases.
If you walk into a dusty house, you might have a sneezing fit, but you’re not going to die. If you walk into a dusty industrial facility, though, all bets are off. Any facility that grinds materials like granite could be exposing its workers to a dangerous substance called silica. When employees are exposed to this substance at high levels of concentration, they can develop acute silicosis within a matter of weeks, or months. Each year, hundreds of workers die from this terrible disease in the United States, and hundreds more wind up disabled and unable to care for their families, or even themselves. In fact, 14,000 U.S. workers have died from silicosis since 1968.
Unfortunately, too few facilities have down draft tables. Consequently, more than 1 million workers in the United States are at risk of developing silicosis.
Dust can actually explode.
Not only does the dust produced by industrial practices contain dangerous substances, it could also explode. According to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, there were more than 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005. These incidents led to the unfortunate demise of 119 workers, and also injured another 718 more, while also doing profound damage to the industrial facilities. Although there are combustible dust collection systems now that can help, these incidents continue to happen. In 2010, three workers in West Virginia were killed in an explosion that was caused by titanium dust.
If your industrial facility does any sort of welding, cutting, or brazing, you’re going to need to invest in down draft tables if you want to keep your workers safe. If you have any questions about the dangers of industrial dust, feel free to share in the comments.