Woodworking is a widespread application that comprises a variety of processes including planing, sawing, routing, milling, lathing, and jointing which generate large sizes and amounts of wood dust. High speed finishing processes that remove little material like sanding and powder coating generate fine dusts. Due to the equipment used, this wood dust tends to scatter and presents a far-reaching hazard.
Wood dust is a combustible and potentially explosive dust. So, accumulated dust in an enclosed space can be ignited by many sources such as a spark, static electricity, overheated bearing, or glowing materials. Such a fire can cause multiple explosions which can be so powerful and devastating that workers are injured or killed and entire facilities are destroyed. Accumulated wood dust can also decrease production efficiency and cause maintenance issues with the machinery. Additionally, wood dusts pose risks to workers. Extended exposure and inhalation can result in adverse health effects including various forms of cancer, irritation of the eyes/throat, and decreased lung function. Specific wood dusts are worse; oak or beech dusts are classified as human carcinogens and western red cedar is classified as a sensitizer for asthma.
Exposure to these dusts is governed by OSHA and monitored by other organizations that regulate safety. We highly recommend familiarizing yourself with the statutory parameters. View Laws & Regulations
To minimize these risks, implement quality air filtration products and systems. Below, is an outline of the solutions we recommend.