Dust is an often overlooked yet serious concern inside industrial facilities where it can affect our sinuses, lungs, and the whole respiratory system, with potentially serious health consequences. Employers must recognize that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for both total dust and respirable dust. Dust comes in many forms, and OSHA specifically regulates certain types of dust such as:
Dust that does not fall into a defined category, such as paper dust, food product dust, inert dust, or nuisance dust, is classified by OSHA as “Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated” (PNOR). These PNOR have a PEL of 15 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) as a Time Weighted Average (TWA), which is the average concentration of a contaminant over the course of a workday (typically 8-hours).
When these PNOR are very tiny, smaller than 10 microns, they are known as Particulate Matter 10 (PM10), or respirable dust. Dust that is small like PM10 is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the “fraction of inhaled airborne particles that can penetrate beyond the terminal bronchioles into the gas-exchange region of the lungs.” OSHA has set the respirable dust PEL at 5.0 mg/m3.
As dust is transported around a building via air currents, wind, and the building’s heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system, it can lead to respiratory symptoms, airway obstructions, asthma, and other health effects. Ultimately, exposure to elevated levels of dust leads to unhealthy employees and affects worker productivity.
SCS has helped building owners, facility engineers, property managers, and industrial building tenants investigate and evaluate factors contributing to dust exposure in their buildings. Dust buildup on surfaces and in the breathing air depends on air handling systems, local exhaust ventilation, dust collection systems, and HVAC systems. Excessive dust can also present an explosion hazard, in addition to health effects.
SCS Engineers specializes in investigating and correcting poor air quality related to dust. From building design to specifying dust collection systems and implementing corrective measures such as local exhaust ventilation for machinery or dust-generating processes, and removing asbestos building materials.
SCS professionals are also experts in air clearance sampling after remediation. We are sensitive to analytical testing costs and will design our investigations to address specific dust issues to keep expenses down.
Meet our author, Jed Douglas, one of our specialists located nationwide. Mr. Douglas is a Senior Project Advisor specializing in Occupational Health and Safety Programs. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), a licensed Professional Geologist in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, and a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional. Jed has over 25 years of experience as a health and safety specialist and has managed numerous environmental projects involving safety; soil and groundwater investigations and remediation of hazardous constituents; and, indoor air quality (IAQ) assessments for physical, chemical, and biological contaminants.
On Tuesday, November 10th, SCS Engineers announced the promotion of Sandra Ripplinger to Director of Health & Safety. Sandy will oversee all industrial health and safety guidance and training for the SCS employee-owners in her expanded role, reporting to the Board of Directors and Chief Financial Officer Curtis Jang.
Ms. Ripplinger is a Board Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) and Safety Professional (CSP) with three decades of experience providing occupational and environmental health and safety services. She is currently also a Project Director with SCS’s Environmental Health Services Practice in Henderson, Nevada.
Her experience includes providing industrial hygiene expertise for industrial facility health and safety audits, process safety management audits, training, environmental evaluations preventing worker exposure. “Sandy has done a great job strengthening our clients’ safety programs and evaluating the risks to prevent accidents,” said Curtis Jang. “She is a strong leader, and I’m confident she will guide our employees with ever-smarter Industrial Health and Safety (IHS) protocols.”
“I am looking forward to working with our team of business unit directors and IHS professionals, continuing to make improvements that benefit our staff and clients,” Ripplinger said. “Safety and industrial safety are an important part of people’s lives, and SCS is committed to continuing delivery of our services in line with legal compliance, industry guidelines, and our clients’ business needs.”
SCS Engineers announces the expansion of its environmental consulting team with the hiring of Senior Project Manager Michael Dustman.
Mr. Dustman brings 17 years of experience providing environmental consulting to public and private entities desiring to assess, delineate, and remediate environmental conditions adversely affecting properties and facilities. Clients often utilize Mr. Dustman’s expertise following natural hazards like hurricanes, tornados, and floods, causing significant risk to health and property.
As a Senior Project Manager, he will continue to focus on remediation and the planning for, and the recovery from natural and human-made hazards. His experience also includes health and safety (IHS) consulting to clients in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma, all locations with SCS clients. He has previously supported municipal agencies, private clients, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team, hospitals, and the U.S. Postal Service, among others.
Mr. Dustman has a wide range of environmentally hazardous conditions he mitigates, including asbestos, lead-based paint, and other hazardous materials, mold, radon. He regularly performs soil and groundwater testing and air monitoring.
“We genuinely strive to understand our clients’ challenges and goals, states Vice President and Environmental Services Lead, Michael Miller. “We appreciate the quality, standards, and leadership that Mike Dustman brings to them and our environmental teams.”
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology are a direct result of our experience and dedication to industries responsible for safeguarding the environment as they deliver services and products. Mr. Dustman’s educational credentials, professional certifications, and training are available on the SCS Engineers website. For more information about SCS, enjoy our 50th Anniversary video.
Safety hazards can exist in the brewing industry, some of which are environmental, biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic, or organizational. Jed Douglas’s latest article explores a variety of safety hazards in the brewing industry, why they are hazards, and how they can be addressed to reduce risks to brewery employees.
Every employer is legally obligated to provide a safe and healthy workplace. A healthy and safe workforce is a happier workforce, which in turn yields greater productivity and lower costs for insurance and also leads to a culture of safety in the workplace.
About the Author: Jed Douglas is a senior project advisor specializing in Occupational Health and Safety Programs. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), a licensed Professional Geologist in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona, and a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional. Jed has over 25 years of experience as a health and safety specialist and senior project manager, managing numerous environmental projects involving safety; soil and groundwater investigations and remediation of hazardous constituents; and, indoor air quality (IAQ) assessments for physical, chemical, and biological contaminants.
Silica dust exposes over two million construction workers per year and is an area of high concern for OSHA. Workers create the dust when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar.
Although crystalline silica is a common mineral found in the earth’s crust, common construction operations and cutting or crushing stone could result in unsafe conditions for workers. Industrial grade sand used in certain foundry work and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is also a source of exposure.
OSHA’s standard (29 CFR 1926.1153) requires employers to protect workers from overexposure to respirable crystalline silica during construction, demolition, blasting, and tunneling activities. SCS Engineers Health and Safety (H&S) practice offers services and training to protect your workers and the public from exposure, therefore reducing your business risk.
SCS helps businesses fully implement control methods as the OSHA standard dictates, and we can measure and assess workers’ exposure to silica to determine which controls work best.
The value of using an SCS Engineers team is that we are not only qualified H&S practitioners; we are in the construction business too. We understand what is necessary to protect workers and your business under many different construction operations and conditions whether they are on petrochemical, utility, transportation, or brownfield project sites.
SCS can also create a written exposure control plan to identify all relevant tasks involving potential exposure and the methods to protect workers.
Our services are comprehensive and include accredited laboratory analysis and any necessary regulatory reporting. We also offer various types of training for workers to implement your company’s exposure control plan.
We’re here to help.