A Microscopic Hazard That Could Cost You Millions

Combustible Dust Explosion

Combustible dust presents a high level of danger to any factory in which particles of various organic, inorganic, or metallic substances accumulate. OSHA defines combustible dust as “fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air under certain conditions.” Examples of substances that can produce combustible dust are chemicals, fossil fuels (coal in particular), metals, paper, plastics, rubbers, sugars, grains, textiles, wood, and sawdust. The ignition of these hazards can cause an explosion with the capability to harm many employees or blow up entire plants, which has occurred on numerous occasions in the past.

Combustible Dust Explosion

For example, on June 21 of 2019, an explosion that occurred in Cloverdale, Indiana injured two truck drivers who were unloading corn in an ethanol plant’s grain-loading area. The damage was estimated at $1 million, aside from the hospital bills of the two injured that were not employed by POET, the company that owns this plant. Another incident at Didion Milling Ethanol Plant in Cambria, Wisconsin, resulted in 5 deaths and 14 injuries in 2017. Investigators accredit the explosion to the company’s “failure to correct leakages, accumulation of highly combustible grain dust,” and properly maintaining equipment that could act as ignition sources.

Another possible outcome of overlooking combustible dust hazards is being fined by OSHA. OSHA has already fined many companies for failure to sustain a safe working environment structured by the standards put into place to ensure occupational safety. A company in Natchez, Mississippi was fined $303,657 due to the discovery of “various electrical hazards” (which could supply as an ignition source), “accumulations of combustible dust on surfaces,” as well as many other dangerous hazards that could either supply as fuel to kindle deflagration or provoke an explosion. One of the companies mentioned earlier, Didion Mill, also received a fine of $1,837,861 by OSHA due to the infractions mentioned previously. The combined cost of having to compensate injured workers, families of lost loved ones, and fines by OSHA could set a company back not only in millions of dollars but reputation as well. Hence, combustible dust poses a threat to both the safety of the workplace, and a company’s financial wellbeing.

                However, Carolina Filters has a solution to this problem. In addition to our extensive knowledge and expertise, Carolina Filters uses the highest quality collection devices and procedures – all of which follow NFPA and OSHA requirements. With years of experience cleaning combustible dust and other contaminants in all types of environments, we can get any workspace in compliance with OSHA and NFPA regulations regarding combustible dust. We also offer facility audits, to help you identify levels of combustible dust in the air. Removing combustible dusts and other particulates from the air is an important process – and by partnering with the professionals at Carolina Filters, you can ensure the safety of your employees and the facilities themselves. Contact us today for assistance with removing combustible dust in your facility.

Industrial Indoor Air Quality Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is a time for blooming flowers and growing grass, which means increased pollen and allergies. While outdoor allergens may be unavoidable, the indoor air quality of your facility can be controlled with the proper maintenance.

According to the EPA, people spend around 90% of their time indoors. In these confined spaces, there are many sources of polluted air which can cause health problems to occupants. These issues can be amplified if proper IAQ is not managed.

3 Ways to Prepare for Allergy Season

Spring is just around the corner and, for many people, that means one thing — allergies. For people who suffer from seasonal allergies, spring is often the worst time of the year.

They can seek relief indoors but, in buildings with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that haven’t been properly maintained, relief is not always possible; depending on a person’s allergens, conditions may even worsen while indoors.

Five Steps to Improve Your Building’s IAQ

Did you know building occupants and employees can improve IAQ (Industrial Air Quality)? According to the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), there are simple steps occupants can follow to decrease indoor air contaminants. Educating occupants of these IAQ guidelines can reduce costs and reduce employee sick leave.

Controlling Indoor Air Quality in a Healthcare Facility

Each year in the United States, roughly 1.7 million people are effected by healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), resulting in an average of 99,000 deaths and $20 billion in hospital costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most of the training for HAI prevention focuses on healthcare providers performing tasks in a sanitary way, however, the facility and its indoor air quality also play an important role.

Decrease Employee Sick Days by Improving Indoor Air Quality

Improving office building indoor air quality (IAQ) reduces sick leave by 39% and costs by 44%, according to an Australian case study. Identifying indoor air contaminants can be difficult, as they range from airborne bacteria, fungi and dust to building materials and office equipment. Outdoor sources such as temperature, lighting, smoke and humidity also affect IAQ. There are a variety of steps businesses can take to improve IAQ and reduce employee sick leave.

New Patent Pending Coil Cleaning Technology Available Throughout the Southeast

“Coil Flow Max” process penetrates through HVAC coils thicker than 4” deep to remove contaminants.

Sumter, SC, September 1, 2016– Carolina Filters Inc., an industrial and healthcare indoor air quality service company, announces the patent pending Coil Flow Max method for cleaning plugged HVAC coils thicker than 4 inches.

Solutions After Conducting an Indoor Air Quality Investigation (Part 3)

Heating and air conditioning systems are sometimes complex and can require evaluation by outside contractors or specialists.  To eliminate many of the probable indoor air quality problems, however, there are three areas that can be easily addressed to some degree by building owners.  These are a) filtration of airborne particulate, b) removal of built-up contamination, and c) the control of microbial growth.

How to Conduct an Indoor Air Quality Investigation? (Part 2)

A preliminary indoor air quality investigation, performed by a building owner, can begin to find solutions for problems caused by airborne particulate and microbial growth.

One primary outcome desired from any IAQ investigation should be to see and document what is normally not seen, namely the existing condition of the entire HVAC system. Our downloadable diagram outlines problem-solving logic that should be used to conduct an investigation. 

Causes for an Indoor Air Quality Investigation (Part 1)

Building owners or their representatives, who are responsible for maintaining the building’s indoor air quality (IAQ) systems, are becoming more aware of their responsibility and liability for the IAQ in their buildings.  A major reason is the old true adage “out of sight, out of mind”.  Most indoor air quality problems are not visible to building owners and occupants.  As a result, many IAQ problems have been ignored.

Nosocomial Infection & Indoor Air Quality

Nosocomial Infection – an infection acquired in a hospital; also referred to as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

According to the CDC, HAIs are infections patients can get while receiving medical treatment in a healthcare facility. The CDC estimates that two million people per year in the United States are infected by an HAI, resulting in 20,000 deaths.