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Particulate Matter Testing for Production Facility

Particulate Monitoring Assessment Addresses Dust Exposure at a Production Facility

Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems are used to control indoor air quality through filtration. In order to guarantee occupant comfort, it is necessary to have a capture system that accommodates the space accordingly. A local client called upon G2 Consultants to conduct particulate testing to assist with the design of a capture system for their production facility.

What Was the Particulate Testing Process?

Smaller dust particles can be hazardous for humans. Our assessment works to identify these potential risks by targeting Respirable Dust levels. These levels identify particles that can reach the gas exchange reaction of the lungs once inhaled. The particulate mass (PM) measurement provides the HVAC contractor with a read on particle data in the surrounding air. In this case, the HVAC contractor used this information to determine what capture system was necessary for the effective removal of excess particulates in the production room.

  • Selection of sample locations and times. Our team worked with the client in choosing three locations to sample. The client chose two rooms as worst-case scenarios, while a third room was selected due to high worker activity. We collected samples during the day shift (operating 6:00 AM- 2:30 PM), the peak of production and dust activity.
  • Measuring PM Concentration G2 utilized a direct read TSI DRX 8533 photometer to instantaneously measure PM concentration in specific sizes: 1 Micrometer (PM1), PM2.5, Respirable (PM5), PM10, and Total PM. Understanding the dust size fraction enabled the contractor to determine the correct carry velocity required for maximum dust control.

 

What Were the Findings?

Ultimately, the results indicated an even distribution of particle concentration by sample size for each room. Based on the findings, we made the following recommendations for an overall HVAC improvement strategy:

  • Dust Collector Modification: We noticed that various dust collectors had been modified from their original design, rendering them ineffective. It was recommended that the client revisit and adjust their existing dust collection system.
  • Local Exhaust Improvements: The current local exhaust system was ineffective. The client needed a hood or new local exhaust solution to increase airflow and dust capture.
  • Hopper Design: Dust accumulates in greater volumes near hoppers. A flexible cover over the opening was suggested to assist in the reduction of dust generation as the machinery was used.
  • Respiratory Protection Program: We concluded that if dust collection was not significantly improved, respiratory protection was encouraged. The particle concentration in all three rooms indicated the potential of over-exposures. Further employee exposure sampling was necessary to determine if personal protective equipment was required. Upon further inspection, if protective equipment was deemed necessary, a formal Respiratory Protection Program would need to be implemented.

 

The Importance of Particulate Monitoring Assessments

The particulate monitoring assessment facilitates dust control efficiencies while striving to eliminate occupational hazards. The assessment provided the client with actionable recommendations, allowing them to take steps towards the elimination of dust exposure.

Businesses involved in production and manufacturing will benefit significantly by scheduling routine air quality audits. By analyzing the results regularly, they will be able to take quick and preventative action.

Does your business need help? Contact us. We’d be happy to help.

About the author: Noal Kraft
Noal is a Principal of G2 Consultants Inc. With over 27 years of professional experience in the Industrial Hygiene and Health and Safety industry. He has worked on thousands of projects throughout the U.S.