Report: Poor Ventilation During Electrical Cable Manufacturing May Result in Respiratory Problems

During manufacturing of electrical components and cables, manufacturers may want to determine whether their employees are exposed to high levels of toxic airborne chemicals. A health hazard evaluation (HHE) report published by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found employees at a facility that produced electrical power distribution cable accessories may have been exposed to chemicals during manufacturing that may result in respiratory problems. Manufacturing employers that may see reports of respiratory issues among their workforce may want to invest in fume extraction solutions to remove toxic airborne chemicals from their workspace.

NIOSH said employees were concerned about certain manufacturing processes – including rubber molding, plastic extrusion and soldering – causing them to be exposed to harmful chemicals. Previously, workers reported symptoms related to issues with their eye, nose, throat and respiratory systems. They also said they experienced dizziness and headaches. In addition to analyzing employee concerns in its HHE report, NIOSH said it evaluated the company’s the work practices at the facility as well as potential air and surface contaminants.

Workers at risk for excess chemical exposure

“Although the chemicals we measured during our evaluation were below relevant OELs, levels at other times may have been higher depending on varying conditions,” the NIOSH report said. “In addition, some employees may still experience symptoms when compounds are present at levels below the OELs. Employee symptoms despite low air levels of solvents could be explained by the skin absorption of certain chemicals (OELs do not take into account chemical exposure through skin absorption)”

Importance of ventilation systems to limit exposure

In addition to having some chemicals surpass the limit for exposure, the facility had a damaged ventilation system, which was observed to have holes and disconnected ducts. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, companies should maintain their ventilation equipment to optimize employee safety.

“Ventilation may be deficient in confined spaces, facilities failing to provide adequate maintenance of ventilation equipment, facilities operated to maximize energy conservation, windowless areas, and areas with high occupant densities,” according to OHSA.

Companies may want to make sure their engineering controls, which include ventilation, are working properly. NIOSH recommended that the electronics cable manufacturer fix its ventilation system and expand its engineering controls to limit exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. The report noted employers may want to install exhaust ventilation on drying racks to protect workers who may be exposed to chemicals from painted parts. They may also want to invest in fume extraction solutions that will remove air impurities and replace them with clean air for to ensure worker safety. 

Industrial and manufacturing news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

Protect Electronics From Environmentally Hostile Indoor Air Quality

Dust has a tendency to clog up computer fans, which could cause electronics to fail.

While air impurities like dust and dirt in a confined work environment can affect the well-being of employees, these contaminants also have the potential to endanger the health of electronics, causing them to fail. Electronic repair centers aim to provide a valuable service to their customers in fixing their defective devices, but could end up harming their business if they are not careful with limiting the amount of air impurities that may be collecting in their shop or warehouse.

Dust and debris get caught within the crucial components of computer systems, which lowers the performance of these electronics and creates new technical issues in the future. Knowing this, electronic repair centers could benefit from maintaining a work environment that is free from air impurities by using air cleaners.

Here are four ways dust and other contaminants can affect the performance of electronics:

1. Environmental factors could decrease device lifespan

The typical lifespan of a desktop computer is between 3 to 5 years, according to Bright Hub. However, there could be certain environmental factors that result in a shortened lifespan for devices and wasted money for customers. Repairing consumer devices effectively in a clean environment results in increased customer satisfaction. Once customers spread the word of their great repair job, companies could see a boost in business.

2. Dust damages hardware and other components

Dust can not only gather within the hardware of computers, but also the keyboard and mouse, according to PC World. Without regular maintenance to ensure dust is not affecting the functionality of these devices – which could involve purchasing cleaning fluid or compressed air cans – users could find themselves with sticky or non-working keys and buttons.

3. Dust causes electronics to overheat

Electronics sitting in the open may gather dust, which could end up in the device, clogging up fan vents. If fans are unable to cool the computer, the device may overheat and give out sooner than the customer expected. Air impurities that penetrate the protective casing of electronics could actually cause them to eventually break. When dust gathers inside a computer, the dust acts as insulation and leads to damage.

4. Computers could have sludge form inside

In rare cases, the dust that resides inside computers could also form into a conductive sludge when the computer is transferred from extremely cold temperatures to a humid environment indoors. Air purification systems would help stop dust at the source to prevent debris from collecting inside electronics.

For machinery and other electronics that have tendencies to overheat due to accumulation of dust and other pollutants inside cabinets, companies invest in cabinet ventilators that act as a forced air system. Cabinet ventilators pressurize an enclosure that holds electronics to ensure removal of contaminants while forcing heat out..

Indoor air pollution and air quality news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

For a Healthy Indoor Air Quality Source Capture Ventilation is Key

For a Healthy Indoor Air Quality Source Capture Ventilation is Key 1

What do woodworkers, artists, dentists, nail technicians, and welders all have in common? Yes, they work with their hands. But that is not all. Those who work in these professions all produce indoor air emissions by just going about their daily duties.

Artists who paint or make pottery may breathe in fumes or particulate matter, as well as many dentists when they use laughing gas or drill teeth to fill cavities. Woodworkers can inhale particle dust; nail techs vapors from glues and polishes. Welders heat up the metal that can emit noxious fumes into the air. The list of jobs, professions, and tasks performed that can create indoor air quality problems goes on and on.

As most business owners know, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to comply with standards created under it. It requires that employers be reasonably aware of the possible sources of poor air quality and that they should have the resources necessary to recognize and control potential hazards.

Most business owners take seriously this responsibility for creating a safe and healthy workplace. They uphold OSHA compliance by keeping their factories, studios, and manufacturing floors clean by maintaining their machines and equipment. But to truly protect their employees from the risk of illness and other hazards, the indoor air quality must be free of pollutants or all their other efforts will fall short of real protection.

The bottom line? Airborne pollutants create a poor IAQ. Experts agree that in most cases, the most effective way to keep the air clean and healthy is to eliminate pollution at the source. This proven method of indoor air cleaning is known as source capture.

At its most basic, source capture may be defined as the process of removing gas, smoke, fumes, and particles where emissions originate.

This process prevents pollutants from dispersing into the surrounding air, the effects of which can cause worker illness, risk of fire and explosion, and an unclean indoor environment.

The top three benefits to source capture are:

Improved worker health

Enhanced productivity & worker retention

Reduced operating costs

Source capture ventilation equipment is less expensive to purchase, run, and maintain than large area (ambient) cleaning methods.

Reduced energy costs

Source capture ventilation products are smaller, thus using less energy than ambient systems.

There are several types of source control products used in the industry. The most common include:

  • Extraction Arm systems
  • Bench-Top and Wall Mount Fume Extractors
  • Mobile Fume Extractors
  • Downdraft Tables

These systems isolate contaminants and remove them from a worker’s breathing space.  

In addition to the professions and applications mentioned at the outset of this article, any trade or occupation that involves cutting, mixing, or burning, or deals with chemicals or substances that emit fumes, mists, or vapors, are also effectively handled by source capture ventilation systems.

The type of source capture ventilation product that is right for a given job and task will depend on a variety of factors including the application and the building infrastructure. At Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc. we provide source capture air cleaning systems for our customers. We have numerous options to choose from, such as our SP-800 mobile fume extractor, our S-981-2B bench-top fume extractor, and our model SCDD-3450 downdraft table. For more information, contact us for your free estimate with one of our clean air experts.