March 25, 2024

Oil Mists in Industrial Settings

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Oil Mists in Industrial Settings

How Oil Emissions Occur

Weaving and dyeing textiles, automotive painting, and lubrication for manufacturing tools and machinery are all applications that can produce oil mists. Without proper workplace protocols, these emissions can pose an occupational risk for the people on the manufacturing floor.

Oil mist can be a byproduct of the fluid used in metalworking or industrial machinery. It can also be produced when working with oil-based liquids in a manufacturing setting.

Industries such as electrical, agricultural, energy, auto and aerospace create products that contain various metals. Similarly, the machines used to produce these goods – machining tools such as pumps, engines, compressors, lathes, and grinders – are made of metal parts. Oil plays a big role in cleaning, manufacturing, and lubricating metal during production.

Through heat and combustion emissions, leaks and spills, or the routine use of oil lubricants for maintenance and optimal performance of production machinery, fine, oily particles are generated and can create an unsafe environment for nearby workers.

Problems Caused by Oil Mists

Oil emissions can:

  1. Effect the functionality and lifespan of production equipment and manufactured goods
  2. Attract other dirt and contaminants that will then stick to surfaces
  3. Create workplace fog and grime
  4. Present a risk of slipping and other workplace accidents
  5. Pose an occupational risk of illness

Of all the potential problems that oil mists present, the threat to the well-being of area workers is the most concerning.

In a nearly 30-year study of the effects of oil mists on industrial health, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) found a direct relationship between industrial oil mist emissions and worker illness, particularly skin problems and respiratory ailments ranging from nasal rhinitis to bronchitis and pneumonia to cancer. (1) In a more recent study, long-term exposure to metal-cutting fluids such as oil mists is believed to cause certain types of skin cancer. (2)

What to Do About It

To mitigate problems associated with oil emissions in the workplace, businesses should implement the following measures:

  1. Follow proper industrial hygiene practices including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  2. Regular cleaning and maintenance of all tools and machinery
  3. Regular monitoring and testing of indoor air quality to identify and address potential IAQ exposure problems
  4. Ensure that there is proper ventilation for a safe and healthy airflow
  5. Employ the use of air-cleaning / filtration equipment to remove dangerous emissions

For over thirty years, AIRSInc has provided top-quality products for our customers’ air cleaning needs. We serve our manufacturing clientele concerned with the health risks from oil mist emissions by providing IAQ products such as our E-1400-G Oil Mist Collector which collects and filters contaminants, drains collected liquids, and then releases clean air back into a worker’s breathing space. 

Call us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced indoor environmental specialists.

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