Fugitive dust is an ongoing issue faced by most conveyor operators working with fine or powdered material. With raised awareness spurred by tighter regulatory standards, effective dust management has become an increasingly important challenge, motivating operators to employ efficient, cost-effective methods of particle management.
Depending on the source and ambient conditions, airborne dust can contribute to potential health or safety hazards, environmental issues, regulatory challenges, explosion risks, higher equipment maintenance costs and poor community relations. Dust inhaled by workers or members of the surrounding community can irritate bronchial airways and exacerbate existing lung conditions. Complaints about fugitive dust from nearby residents and businesses can also endanger future operating permits.
Significant amounts of dust can lead to frequent maintenance and faster equipment wear. Further, more cleaning can increase the amount of labor needed to maintain a safe work environment, placing staff near moving conveyors and other process equipment, resulting in a higher risk of injury. Together, these factors can have a significant impact on the cost of operation.
Because of the varying types and diversity of dust control methods, powder and fine material handlers should consider evaluating causes, problem areas, dust-generating processes and potential cargo management techniques to arrive at the optimum approach for their operation.