McCarthy Environmental have been to a number of exhibitions lately to encourage awareness on the importance of being protected against substances hazardous to health, relating to respiratory diseases and how to prevent unnecessary exposure.
The latest exhibition attended being the NAMM Tradex show, held at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. NAMM is the National Association of Memorial Masons, an industry that works with a particularly hazardous type of inhalable dust – SILICA.
- There are three potential illnesses caused from breathing in Silica, these being;
- Silicosis – Makes breathing difficult and will make the lungs more susceptible to infections.
- COPD – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a group of lungs diseases causing severe breathlessness, coughing and is a leading cause of death.
- Lung Cancer – caused from high levels of exposure to airborne silica dust, also known as RCS – Respirable Crystalline Silica.
All of these can be avoided so simply, by taking the proper precautions. A precaution the Health and Safety Executive favour is the use of Dust Extraction equipment LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation).
LEV systems are designed to capture contaminant produced at source, which will prevent the possibility of an operator inhaling any dust as it does not have the opportunity to enter the operators breathing zone.
A suitable extraction unit to protect workers in this case, would be the unit showcased during the exhibition, the ESTA Dustomat 16M which has been designed to extract and filter Silica dust.
- Some key features of the Dustomat 16M are:
- Suitable for stone dust
- Cleanable long-life cartridge filters
- Three filter cleaning methods – manual brush / pneumatic / pulse jet
- Three voltages available – 110V / 230V / 400V
- The unit is portable and can be supplied with extraction arm
- It will discharge clean filtered air within the workplace
- Some interesting questions asked at the show were:
Q: How Long does the filter last?
A: There are some variables which will govern how long your filter will last, these are:
The type of process you have – if the dust produced in your work place is very fine, and there are only small amounts generated. Then your filter will last for a fairly lengthy period. If your process generates large amounts of heavy dust, then your filter will not last quite so long.
Cleaning the filter regularly – if the filter is cleaned regularly in relation to how hard the process is on the filter, then you will increase the time it takes for the filter to become fully saturated.
Providing the work process is not particularly hard wearing on the filter and the cleaning mechanism is operated regularly, the filter would not require changing more than once a year.
Q: Are these units HSE approved?
A: The HSE does not approve anything. They will assess whether or not the work process carried out does not expose the operators to a risk of exposure from substances hazardous to health.
With regards to the filter unit, it must be:
- Fit for purpose.
- Have a suitably rated filter.
- Must be capable of capturing hazardous substances at source
- Must have an up to date LEV assessment, with commissioning and maintenance log book.
- Each hood requires a PASS/FAIL sticker to indicate effective capture at source.
Providing these steps have been carried out the extraction unit will be suitable for use in the workplace.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: A very good question which is down to your individual requirements, please get in touch with our friendly team 01604 635 333 to find out more.