Most industrial plants produce some sort of dust during the manufacturing process. It’s easy to see dust or dirt at eye level, but when looking up, high surfaces may appear to be clean. Dust rises and settles on high fixtures, including out-of-reach rafters. While it seems that high surface dust is not hurting anything, it is actually causing numerous problems within the building. What happens when surface dust accumulates on these surfaces?
The Dangers of Combustible Dust
Through the course of everyday production dust from the manufacturing process gets blown around landing on high surfaces. Since these areas are out of reach and typically out of mind, they are not regularly cleaned. This allows the industrial dust on the ceiling and rafters to continue to increases while the rest of the building appears clean. Seems pretty harmless, right?
Rafter and ceiling dust could be combustible dust which when disturbed is highly explosive. When a small fire or explosion happens with ground level dust, the shock waves from this disrupt the ceiling dust. The dust then falls and creates an explosive dust cloud in the building. This second, much larger cloud of dust becomes a dangerous fire bomb.
Knowing how to effectively and safely clean high rafter dust is not only important for your facility, but also for the safety and health of your employees.
High Ceiling Cleaning Will Help Prevent Dust Fires
Can you completely rid your facility of high-rafter dust? How can you reduce the risk of combustible dust fires?
First, be sure to implement and follow the mandatory OSHA standards for combustible dust. Second, follow (combustible) dust cleaning standards for your industry, which includes following the (National Fire Protection Association) NFPA 652 and NFPA 654. Third, regularly schedule industrial cleaning services provided by a company with OSHA trained and certified technicians. Dust accumulation on high places is not completely unavoidable. If you maintain a high standard of regular industrial cleaning, however, the risks are reduced considerably.
So, if your facility cleaning routine includes only sweeping the floors and blowing dust off machinery, you may want to re-think this process. There are high risks involved in cleaning this way. But including ceilings and rafters to your list of industrial cleaning responsibilities will help prevent the risk of a combustible dust explosion.
Other Issues from Dust Collected on High Surfaces
Chunks of this collected debris can enter the ventilation system and clog up the HVAC as well as pollute the air you and your employees breathe.
The decreased air quality could lead to employee illnesses and a lower rate of productivity and efficiency. The ceiling acts like a filter for a building. If the ‘filter’ isn’t cleaned properly, the air in the building becomes unhealthy to breathe.
Dust that accumulates in damp areas with little or no light are prime spots for dangerous mold and bacteria to grow. Piles of dust become a breeding ground for mites, bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants, becoming a health threat to anyone who works or visits the facility.
We Can Help!
Hughes Environmental technicians are OSHA-trained and are experienced in cleaning high surfaces. Hughes Environmental uses equipment approved for combustible dust cleaning, such as intrinsically safe vacuums and grounded hoses.
To schedule high rafter or ceiling cleaning for your facility, or to learn more about combustible dust remediation, Contact Us Here or call: 888.845.3952.