Metal processing presents its own safety and health challenges with dust exposure as one of the main industry concerns.
Lead exposure is a common respiratory risk due to the prevalence of this metal in many widely used products. Lead is an ingredient in lead-based paints, lead solder, electrical fittings and conduits, tank linings, plumbing fixtures, and many metal alloys. Workers can be exposed to lead dust or fumes during welding and renovation or demolition operations, particularly when dealing with old surfaces and structures covered in lead paints. Working in contaminated clothing or not cleaning uniforms properly can also contribute to the overall level of exposure.
Exposure to small quantities of this metal doesn’t cause health issues however lead has an ability to accumulate in human organs over time. Long term lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs and reproductive system if inhaled or ingested in dangerous quantities.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed regulations to protect workers involved from the hazards of lead exposure. OSHA’S permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 50 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air, as averaged over an 8-hour period. Business are required to use engineering controls and employ work practices to reduce staff’s exposure. Companies that fail to adhere to the standard can pay a high price for failing to protect worker’s health. Last year, OSHA fined a U.S. shooting range $217,000 for exposing workers to lead dust.
Mideco’s project portfolio includes various lead application case studies. Our range of products and decades of experience in the area of dust control allow us to deliver effective dust control solutions specifically tailored to the challenges of your project, application and work site.
For example, our four type of filters/dust collectors include Reverse Air Cleaning Filters (RAC) that provide a very high efficiency of dust collection suitable to control lead dust and fumes. RAC’s special features can guarantee a collection efficiency of 99.9% of all particulate matter down to 0.5 microns in size. This generally equates to an emission lower than 10 mg/Nm 3 for types of dust so small that it borders on being a fume.
Mideco have implemented them in dust control projects for lead application in various Australian ports.
In Western Australia in 2000 and 2008, we worked with the Esperance Port Sea and Esperance Land to design and deliver dust control solutions for their lead sheds. The client needed to contain lead dust generated during the product bagging process. We have created a comprehensive dust control system that involved 18A RAC with MF micro porous filter bags and Mideco’s secondary and tertiary combined after-filter unit. The unit was equipped with the secondary deep pocket tri-pack filter elements and HEPA H13 deep pleat filter elements with an outlet stack. The overall efficiency of the system reduced dust exposure level to 0.5 µ/m3, well within the Australian industry standard.
We have also provided successful dust and fume management for zinc and lead sheds in Port Pirie in South Australia. The sheds there operated as receivable, storage and dispatch facility with the product, once offloaded, being managed by front-end loaders. The client required a dust and fume management equipment to process the volume of 175,000m3/h which occurred during the process of product loading into ships. It involved the front-end loaders carrying the product across the berth to the hoppers and feeding it on to conveyor belts which transported and elevated it into the ships’ cargo area. We have designed and implemented an air cleaning system which included two reverse cleaned Mideco model 45A Dust Collectors.
We have also had inquiries from lead processing facilities about our personnel de-dusting unit, Bat Booth®. This unique dust suppression takes seconds to capture and permanently remove up to 80% of dust from staff’s clothing thus reducing the risk of occupational lung diseases and illnesses associated with work dust exposure. Contaminated clothing can contribute to staff’s overall exposure and must not be overlooked.
Mideco’s range of dust control solutions can help your business achieve effective dust management in all stages of metal processing.