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EXPOSURE TO AGRICULTURAL DUSTS

Dust released during the processing of agricultural products can have serious effects of employees health. Exposure to these dusts can cause health issues like skin conditions or asthma. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect operators and lower their exposure below the workplace exposure limit. you can find list of exposure limits can on the HSE website. Extraction systems can be used to control this dust and deliver the collected product back into the process.

ATEX COMPLIANCE AND EXPLOSION PROTECTION

Organic substances such as grains and flour are potentially explosive materials given the right environment. Dust clouds created during the handling and processing of these materials have the potential to cause fatal explosions. All systems dealing with these types of explosive materials should adhere to the ATEX regulations which outline safe control measures. Our equipment is all manufactured to the ATEX standards and can help protect your employees from potential events.

You can reduce the risk of explosion by implementing various control measures.  Firstly, look at your processes and ensure ignition sources are removed or contained, make sure all drop outs and leaks are sealed. Secondly, implement an ATEX compliant extraction system to control the dust throughout the process. Not only does this protect your workers from exposure and explosion, but improves productivity and product quality.

Agricultural Materials Being Processed
Green Fields Being Watered

IMPLEMENTING CONTROLS

Using a centralised extraction system to remove dusts from the process is the safest and most efficient way of contorting dust exposure. They not only reduce employees WEL but can dramatically reduce the risk of explosions. Implementing an LEV system removes dust directly form the process before it has chance to enter the breathable workspace.

We provide safe solutions for the storage, mechanical conveying, pneumatic conveying, screening, separating, and much more. Our engineers can help to implement a dust extraction and materials handling system that not only protects employees from exposure and explosion, but that can improve productivity and product quality.

HOW TO ASSESS RISKS

When dealing with harmful substances a risk assessment should be completed.  We have put together an example on how you can evaluate your processes.

#1 Identify the Risks

The first part of the risk assessment should be to identify the hazards

#1 Identify the Risks

Look at the process and identify the potential hazards. What are the harmful dusts being emitted? who is effected and how far reaching is the exposure?

#2 How often is this used

Frequency of use is important when determining how to tackle control

#2 How often is this used

If exposure to the dusts are for short periods say once per week, RPE could be used due to the infrequency. Long term exposure should be controlled using more permanent measures.

#3 Change the Process

Are there safer materials or processed that could be used?

#3 Change the Process

Try to identify if its possible to change the process to reduce exposure. Could a different material be used? Could alternative processes be used to reduce the dust breakout?

#4 Which Controls Work

Determine if and what controls should be implemented to reduce the risk

#4 Which Controls Work

Based on the information what controls best suit your environment? can extraction be added? if no there are no suitable controls RPE can be considered

#5 Consider PPE/RPE

This should be the last resort when identifying control measures

#5 Consider PPE/RPE

If there are no other methods available to control the dust and the process can’t be changed, then PPE/RPE can be considered. A separate risk assessment should be undertaken

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