10 Tips For Making Your Dust Collector As Safe As Possible

by Camfil APC Team

Comments moderated by John Davidson, Mid – South Regional Manager, Camfil APC


Installing a dust collector into your factory revolves around the want to keep employees, equipment and work areas safe from dust. Unfortunately, this installation often occurs under a grudge purchase situation. Although the first thought may be to select the most affordable dust collector, the purpose of the dust collector is to maintain a safe working environment and corners should never be cut. The price of the unit and accessories should never interfere with the safety that dust collectors are designed to produce. The following are ten tips for making your dust collector as safe as possible to ensure the job is being done as well as possible.


  1. Look for a dust collector with a higher pressure rating

    Ensuring that your dust collector is heavy-duty and paired with the correct explosion protection equipment will enable you to use a simpler and less costly explosion protection system to comply with NFPA standards.


  2. Don’t overlook the ductwork

    Your collector could be built perfectly but the wrong duct work could cause major problems. Ducting should be equipped with dampers and valves designed to minimize the risk of explosion.


  3. Never store dust in the hopper

    Also, make sure the storage container under the hopper is dumped and cleaned frequently. This will minimize clogging of the system and ensure that the pulse-cleaning system is doing its job.


  4. Don’t use a programmable logic controller (PLC) to control pulse-cleaning of filters

    Pulse-cleaning relies on very brief, high-energy bursts of compressed air to blow dirt off the filter surfaces. PLCs often open too slowly for correct pulsing to occur.


  5. Don’t rely on filter percentage efficiencies or MERV ratings to predict compliance

    Plant operations and safety personnel must confront regulations as the EPA and OSHA continue to tighten air quality requirements. EPA and OSHA want to know that emissions will be at or below required thresholds.


  6. Consider ease and safety of filter change-out

    Are filters positioned for ease of access? Do they slide in and out of the housing readily? Pulling out a cartridge that is dirty overhead and weighs a ton can result in neck, back and foot injuries as well as a large mess. Some filter designs are subject to uneven dust loading, leading to shorter filter life and potential fire or explosion hazards.


  7. Reduce change-out frequency with long-life filters

    This will minimize worker exposure to dust, save on maintenance and disposal costs, and reduce landfill impact.


  8. Optimize fire prevention

    Flame-retardant filter media, spark arrestors, perforated screens, fire sprinklers, etc. help maintain fire prevention. Also, vertically-mounted cartridges also reduce fire and explosion risks because dust doesn’t build up and sit on top of filters.


  9. Evaluate needs for additional safety accessories

    OSHA-compliant railed safety platforms and caged ladders can prevent slips and falls when workers access the collector for service. Lock-out/tag-out doors prevent injury caused by inadvertent opening of doors during a pulsing cycle and/or exposure to hazardous dust. Where highly toxic dust is being handled, a bag-in/bag-out (BIBO) containment system may be required to isolate workers from used filters during change-out.


  10. Consider a safety monitoring filter

    This is a secondary bank of high efficiency air filters that prevent collected dust from re-entering the workspace if there should be a leak in the dust collector’s primary filtering system. This is also a required component in a recirculating dust collection system that recycles air downstream of the collector.


Understanding key features of your dust collector and your factory’s needs will ultimately save money in the long run because of the lack of repairs or additional accessories in the future.


Petroleum Connection additional comment:

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