When sanding, cutting or otherwise working with wood, you should consider using a dust collection system. Wood is a versatile material that's used in the production of countless products. Working with wood, however, poses certain safety hazards, one of which is respiratory distress. A dust collection system, however, can protect you from illnesses and injuries associated with exposure to wood dust.
What Is a Dust Collection System?
A dust collection system is exactly what it sounds like: a system that's designed to collect dust. It's used in conjunction with woodworking machines. Woodworking machines are pieces of equipment that sand, cut or otherwise work with wood. During use, woodworking machines will produce wood dust. A dust collection system will collect this dust without interfering with the woodworking machines' operations.
How Dust Collection Systems Work
There are different types of dust collection systems, but most of them use a similar method of operation. You can connect a dust collection system to a woodworking machine. When you turn on the woodworking machine, it will expel the wood dust into the dust collection system.
Once inside the dust collection system, the wood dust will spin around inside of a storage tank at the bottom. At the top of the dust collection system is a filter. The filter will allow air to escape the dust collection system while trapping the wood dust at the bottom.
Why You Should Use a Dust Collection System
Why should you use a dust collection system exactly? Exposure to wood dust is a potential safety hazard. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allows for 15 mg/m3 of dust exposure over an eight-hour weighted time period. But some workers exceed this permissible exposure limit, thus placing them at risk for illness or injury.
Direct contact with wood dust can cause skin irritation. Some people are allergic to compounds within wood. Wood sap, for instance, is a known allergen for millions of people. When exposed to wood sap, they may break out in hives.
Exposure to wood dust can also cause respiratory distress. According to OSHA, workers who exceed the permissible exposure limit may develop asthma or chronic bronchitis.
You can protect yourself from allergies, respiratory distress and other injuries and illnesses associated with wood dust by using a dust collection system. It will contain the wood dust produced by woodworking machines so that it doesn't pollute the surrounding air.