Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 Hazardous Dusts Commonly Found in Composites Manufacturing

From Industrial Vacuum Blog

5 Hazardous Dusts Commonly Found in Composites Manufacturing

April 25, 2017
Dust is everywhere in composites manufacturing.
If it’s not controlled, that dust can easily find its way into your  eyes and lungs, causing irritation; into hard-to-reach areas, creating  combustible dust hazards; and onto surfaces, leading to slip and fall incidents.

Here are five hazardous dusts commonly found in composites manufacturing.

Silica dust

As the American Composites  Manufacturing Association (ACMA) notes, “Many composite raw materials and molded composite products contain crystalline silica.” These include: “sand, quartz, calcium carbonate, gypsum, dolomite, mica and other materials used in the production of cast polymer, engineered stone, tub/showers, and many other composite products.”

In small particles, crystalline silica becomes silica dust, which is respirable and is known to cause silicosis among other lung disorders.

Last year, OSHA issued a new final rule limiting the permissible exposure limit for silica dust. Learn more about the recommended engineering controls and housekeeping practices for controlling silica dust in your facility.

Carbon fiber dust

Carbon fiber dust is well-known to be hazardous to electronics because carbon fibers are electrically conductive. If allowed to build up, this dust can short out computers and cause other digital device havoc. It’s also associated with lung damage in people.

Carbon nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes are 20 times stronger than carbon fiber. Unfortunately, research has shown that they’re also as dangerous to human lungs as asbestos. Carbon nanotubes can also irritate the eyes and the skin.

Resin dust

Several types of resin dusts are  common in composites manufacturing, and they aren’t all created equal in terms of hazardousness. For example, there are no adverse health effects associated with thermoplastic resins. However, dust from heated bismaleimide resin products can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. And dust from polyurethane resin is highly toxic.

Combustible dust

Finally, even dusts that don’t pose exposure risks can still be hazardous because, if allowed to accumulate, they can become combustible. In fact, the ACMA staff wrote in an article for Composites Manufacturing Magazine that they were “not aware of any composites dust that did not test as hazardous [meaning combustible] using OSHA’s approved test methods.”

They recommend:

“To reduce combustible dust hazards and avoid citations, composites manufacturers should employ regular housekeeping to keep dust levels below hazardous levels, use listed electrical equipment in dusty process areas, and locate cyclones and bag houses outdoors.” [emphasis added]
Exposure to these and other composites dusts can cause serious adverse health effects, ranging from dermatitis to lung cancer. One of the best ways to keep these effects at bay is to eliminate hazardous dust at the source. Learn how a Nilfisk industrial vacuum can help make your composites manufacturing facility a safer place to work.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fire, explosions rip thru waste factory in Spain, 30 injured | The Spokesman-Review

From The Spokesman-Review

Fire, explosions rip thru waste factory in Spain, 30 injured

Thu., May 4, 2017, 11:47 a.m.
A firefighter truck leaves as smoke rises from a factory after several explosions, in Arganda del Rey, outside Madrid, Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Francisco Seco / Associated Press)
A firefighter truck leaves as smoke rises from a factory after several explosions, in Arganda del Rey, outside Madrid, Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Francisco Seco / Associated Press)

MADRID – A fire and several explosions ripped through an industrial waste treatment factory Thursday in a town near Madrid, sending 30 people to the hospital for treatment and forcing the immediate evacuation of nearby schools and offices, officials said.

The fire at the Requimsa factory in Arganda del Rey sent a dense column of smoke into the air. The blaze caused several explosions and broke windows and damaged buildings nearby. The emergency services said three of the 30 injured were in serious condition, two for burns and one with a fractured pelvis.

There was no immediate information on the cause of the blaze.

Samuel Vadillo, 21, who lives close to the factory, said he heard several loud explosions that broke windows and blew doors open in the house.

“It’s a miracle there were no fatalities,” he said, adding that he and his mother were told by officials to stay indoors for safety reasons. He said the flames could be seen above nearby houses.

The same factory was destroyed in a fire in 2013.

“It’s a little bit suspicious and dangerous that there was the fire in 2013 and now this, because there are houses very nearby,” said Vadillo.

The Madrid regional government said people were evacuated from schools and workplaces in a radius of 500 meters (1,640 feet) around the factory but that tests showed the air quality in the region was normal. No one in the schools was injured. The regional government said 11 firefighting units had been deployed and there was no danger of the fire spreading.