Addressing your industrial indoor air quality questions
Modular air filtration empowers factory workers to focus on their task at hand — free from indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns and unencumbered by clunky PPE equipment. There’s also the added benefit of keeping OSHA and other compliance watch dogs at bay.
But, what are the specific IAQ requirements under OSHA? What bottom-line benefits does industrial air filtration offer OEMs? And finally, what steps can manufacturers actually take to ensure IAQ positively impacts overall worker safety and health?
Let’s clear up the confusion with answers to a few of the most common questions we hear about IAQ, as well as insights on how modular air filtration can help manufacturers address the IAQ challenge head on.
What are my specific IAQ compliance obligations for mitigating airborne risks in my industrial facility?
OSHA does not currently enforce IAQ standards and they do not offer a specific method to test for indoor air quality. However, as a U.S. employer (especially a manufacturer), you are expected to identify and eliminate potential indoor air quality hazards that could lead to serious injury per the OSHAct.
Under the OSHAct, “Employers should be reasonably aware of the possible sources of poor air quality, and they should have the resources necessary to recognize and control workplace hazards.”
Modular air filtration can be both a short and long term solution for meeting your OSHAct responsibilities regarding indoor air quality, as well as adhering to work safety standards set by the EPA, the Underwriters Laboratories, and the National Fire Protection Association.
This flexible type of industrial air filtration can help you cost-effectively meet the letter of the law when it comes to clean air and safety compliance, including:
- Ventilation under the EPA’s 40CFR – Part 63.11173
- Spray finishing requirements under the EPA’s 40CFR – Part 63.11173
- Standards to measure and validate performance, environmental health, and sustainability under the UL (U.S. and Canada)
- Standard spray application using flammable or combustible materials under NFPA 33
- Dust – ignition or explosive under OHSA O.Reg 851-65
Compliance is expensive enough. As a manufacturer, why should I care about going beyond EHS compliance?
With the looming skilled workforce shortage, the question really is: Can you afford not to think beyond EHS compliance when it comes to indoor air quality?
Exceeding IAQ obligations can provide measurable ROI when it comes to insurance costs, workers’ comp claims, absenteeism, and employee morale — the latter point being increasingly significant when you consider your overall work environment and how IAQ may impact it.
Unfortunately, fume hoods and extraction systems may protect against fumes and airborne particulates, but they often fall short of creating a healthy indoor air environment overall. Cumbersome PPE can inhibit productivity and installing facility-wide HVAC systems is a significant cost burden (both in upfront capital expense and ongoing operating costs).
With modular air filtration, such as non-vented systems with retractable enclosures, you can exceed environmental and safety requirements. These systems can easily work with your existing floor plans and processes to reduce the impact on your capital expenditure, operating costs, and productivity.
With modular air filtration, you could be reaping such ROI rewards as:
- Keeping entire projects in-house for more comprehensive quality control
- Continuing your grinding, painting, or sanding assignments on schedule and without interruption, via temporary maintenance locations
- Reducing material handling bottlenecks and workspace redesigns normally required for rapid project modifications
- Bringing clean air to the job, rather than reconstructing your workspaces around the workpiece
- Enabling your employees to quickly inventory and prioritize interchangeable parts and varied bills of material
How is indoor air quality impacting our ability to ensure quality control?
Painting, coating, and other finishing tasks produce fumes and other air contaminants, and therefore require indoor air quality control measures. The challenge is ensuring quality control over these tasks without having to redesign the entire shop floor to create a dedicated space. You could choose to outsource, but then you could risk your ability to ensure quality control.
For example, outsourcing finishing tasks can expose your operation to costly quality control risks such as:
- Potential workpiece damage during transport
- Lack of production consistency from vendors who may adhere to different QC standards
- Less control over R&D procedures with too many cooks in the kitchen
- Costly rework due to offsite detours from specific project directives
- Inability to ensure subcontractors are not cutting corners, such as applying quick-dry agents that can negatively impact quality
With modular air filtration, you can bring clean air to your messy finishing tasks, without disrupting your facility’s organization and existing quality control processes. At Duroair, we can customize modular clean rooms and retractable paint booths to integrate with your existing manufacturing environment, which in turn can create a larger footprint to expand production capabilities.
What are some cost-effective methods for ensuring healthy, compliant indoor air quality at our industrial facility?
One of the most cost-effective methods for ensuring safe and healthy indoor air quality is to bring a clean air enclosure to the product. This eliminates the need for wide aisles and cranes for safe movement. The result is a smaller footprint with improved floor space and utilization.
At Duroair, we provide non-vented, air recycling filtration solutions to capture airborne particles and keep chemical gases well within compliance standard levels, without huge capital expenditures like expensive ductwork and permitting fees. Our patented DuroPure™ technology completely recycles air without the need to exhaust contaminants to the outside.
If you need a highly adaptable, IAQ solution to fit your facility’s existing ventilation requirements, we can customize our vented DuroCap™ air filtration system to extract dust, fumes, and gases using our patented two-stage industrial air purification technology to filter out 99.4% of all airborne contaminants. We can also combine our DuroCap™ with a DuroRoom™ modular enclosure system to create an isolated, contaminant-free, portable workstation to fit your product or process requirements.
The potential ROI benefits of these flexible solutions include:
- Guaranteeing IAQ and safety compliance
- Requiring less capital expenditure than other air filtration systems
- Cutting operational costs by streamlining materials handling
- Improving worker productivity and increasing process efficiency
- Protecting employees and boosting workplace morale
Can you integrate an IAQ solution into our existing operations to protect our workers from specific contaminants or particulates?
At Duroair, helping you protect your workforce from indoor air contaminants is the driving force behind everything we do. Our modular air filtration solutions are designed to improve the health and safety of workers and increase overall efficiency of plant operations.
If you need a highly adaptable, IAQ solution to fit your facility’s existing ventilation requirements, we can customize our vented DuroCap air filtration system to work with your current infrastructure. Our DuroCap technology can extract 99.4% of all airborne contaminants from your facility, including dust, fumes, and gases using our patented two-stage industrial air purification technology (as noted above in our previous response regarding cost-effective air filtration).
This taper-draft airflow technology creates a protective envelope around workers and ensures they won’t be susceptible to contamination from dusty or dirty floors. Production air is then interlocked with fans for safety, with fresh breathing air supplied into enclosure.
How can modular air filtration be customized to fit my facility’s IAQ needs?
Each Duroair’s modular air filtration system can be tailored or combined to meet the specific IAW needs of both industrial and commercial manufacturing operations.
For example, if you’re looking for a way to provide general air cleaning for your entire plant, our DuroTower industrial air cleaning system can be applied to an open-floor plan, using the air rotation concept to control air contaminants. Like our modular clean air solutions, the DuroTower can be customized to your facility’s needs. We can configure it to work as portable welding fume extractor, if you don’t require a plant-wide cleaning system
We also offer a powerful dust collection system that maintains a 100% filtration rate at all times in one compact, efficient solution: the DuroCollector. The DuroCollector can be configured to preserve clean air in your facility while saving space and operating expenses. We can implement this solution exactly where you need it, quickly improving air quality in the zones that have the most immediate need.
Based on your distinct manufacturing processes, industry challenges, and unique facility layout, we can engineer such specific modifications as:
- Retractable enclosures per your specific humidity and clean room specifications
- System configurations to meet specific NESHAP requirements
- UV lighting to destroy VOC’s in specific applications
- Custom filters for specific applications