Downdraft tables are more important pieces of industrial equipment than you might think. Here’s why.
Dust Explodes Fairly Often. – One of the main reasons why downdraft tables are so important is because all facilities that grind, weld, cut, or braze need combustible dust collection systems in order to prevent literally explosive situations. Between 1980 and 2005, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board found that there were 281 explosive events that were caused by combustible dust.
The Explosions Aren’t Tame. – The 281 combustible dust incident identified by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board caused the deaths of 119 workers, injured another 718 workers, and did an incredible amount of damage to the facilities involved. Between 2009 and 2013, there was another 57 combustible dust incidents that claimed the lives of another 26 and injured another 129. In 2010, there was one explosion caused by titanium dust that was big enough to kill another three workers.
If It Doesn’t Explode, It Can Cause Illness. – A lot of the materials that get ground up contain crystalline silica. If exposed to high levels of this substance, as workers may be if they inhale the dust of granite, which can contain up to 70% silica, they can develop acute silicosis just weeks or even months later. More than 14,000 workers in the U.S. have died form this disease since 1968, and over 1 million more are at risk right now of developing it.
Dust collection systems may seem like pieces of equipment that keep facilities tidy, but they’re actually crucial apparatuses that can save lives from potentially explosive dust, or from deadly crystalline silica, both of which are bigger threats than you might think. If you have any questions about dust collection systems, feel free to share in the comments.