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Kicking up Dust: An Industrial Hygiene Assessment for a Manufacturing Facility in Chicago, IL


Occupations that expose employees to dust — fine particles of organic or inorganic material, either airborne or on the ground — require diligence and protection from potential overexposure.

Dust can cause a host of respiratory issues, depending on the type of organic or inorganic particles inhaled. It’s important for any facility manager or business owner to make sure their employees have the proper protections in place to prevent overexposure to respirable dust.

Dust overexposure: conducting an industrial hygiene assessment

To respond to such concerns, a medical manufacturing facility near Chicago, Illinois contacted G2 Consulting to conduct an industrial hygiene assessment to determine their employee’s exposure to total and respirable dust on the manufacturing floor. The employees were handling fibrous material and working with a manufacturing process that could potentially stir up a large amount of dust, and the facility managers wanted to be sure that their employees were not overexposed to hazardous amounts of airborne particulate matter.

The assessment: findings and recommendations

Over the course of a day, G2 monitored five employees as they performed routine tasks involving the handling of various products made with polyester fibrous materials. We used personal air sampling methods to determine levels of exposure; two employees were found to have been exposed to dust levels above the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) permissible exposure limit (PEL).

Moving forward, G2 recommended further observation of the manufacturing process – maximizing the distance between the employees breathing zones and the product they handle could lessen exposure. G2 also recommended the use of respiratory protective equipment for the employees until dust levels were reduced and did not exceed the PEL.

Protecting your employees against dust overexposure

A full risk assessment for your facility is good due diligence. Results can be used for compliance, and help identify issues to keep your company safe, healthy and happy. G2‘s assessments can be used to help identify the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job and identify whether your current health and safety programs are adequate.

Have concerns about dust exposure for your employees or facility? Give us a call – our experienced consultants are available to talk through your concerns and facility’s needs.

About the author: Noal Kraft
Noal is the Vice President of Operations at DKI/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.