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Wood dust rule.


Despite the absence of federal wood dust legislation, there are many reasons to comply with OSHA's standard.

Though no longer a federal rule, woodworkers are still recommended to meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's wood dust standard that limits workplace exposure to 5 milligrams per cubic meter. WOOD & WOOD PRODUCTS magazine asked several dust collection equipment manufacturers to discuss the benefits of attaining the 5mg/|m.sup.3~ standard.

The majority of respondents said in addition to complying with OSHA's standard, companies that met the 5mg/|m.sup.3~ limit enjoyed the benefits of increased productivity and improved worker health.

"Those that have remodeled their dust collection equipment or have purchased new equipment have found other benefits such as increased productivity, less worker absenteeism and higher quality finishes," according to Ronald Mattson, sales manager with Dustvent Inc.

The advantages of dust collection outweigh the costs, said Russell C. Wolfe, vice president and chief engineer, Dixie Air Systems. "Even though many do not relish spending money for a system, they understand the need for an efficient systems not only for a worker's health and safety, but also because a clean environment allows them to produce a high quality product."

Other manufacturers note that even when a federal standard was in place, that companies were dragging their heels on lowering exposure levels. "Most companies will delay compliance as long as possible because dust collection is a straight expense without return. The furniture industry has been stagnant for a while," said Ted Remmers, business segment manager for Pacific Coast PneuPro line, MAC Equipment.

Riccardo Azzoni, president, Atlantic Machinery said, "Unfortunately, only a minority of woodworking companies seem to be concerned about the effects of wood dust in the working environment. More education is needed in this field, and magazines can make a positive impact by using editorials and articles stressing the need for dust control."

The benefits of attaining the 5mg/|m.sup.3~ wood dust exposure limit go beyond compliance, according to many wood dust equipment manufacturers and the standard is still recommended by OSHA and the IIWDCC.

The following is a review of available wood dust equipment. For more information, circle the corresponding numbers on the Reader Service Card.

Dustvent's 6-ft by 4-ft downdraft bench provides 24 sq ft of downdraft work surface. The high-velocity peripheral slots provide velocities to 1,000 fpm. Air, dust and fumes are drawn through the grid and into the peripheral slots. A 180 |degrees~ turn throws coarse dust into the pans below. Fine dust is collected on the filters. The air is re-circulated back into the workplace saving heating costs.

The Coral Dust Collection Series from Atlantic Machinery Corp. ranges from a single-bag, 2-hp model to a four-bag, 7.5-hp model. These units are portable and have the following specifications -- Model CMS/1C: single bag with floor sweep, 2-hp, 1,530 cfm; Model CA/1C: single bag with 3-way outlet, 3-hp, 1,880 cfm; Model CA/2C: two-bag with 3-way outlet, 4-hp, 3,000 cfm; Model CA/3C: three-bag with 3-way outlet, 5.5-hp, 3,850 cfm; Model GAM/4C: four bag with 3-way outlet, 7.5-hp, 5,310 cfm.

Jet Equipment & Tools dust collectors feature single stage design, four casters and metal straps. The Jet DC-5000 and DC-5600 are designed for medium to large size industrial woodshops. The DC-5000 features a 7 1/2-hp, 3-ph motor and the DC-56000 comes with a 10-hp, 3-ph motor. The larger dust collectors can be used with up to five machines at a time and feature a collection capacity of more than 21 cubic feet.

The Model 75 dust collector from Powermatic comes equipped with a 3-hp motor that creates 1,900 cfm. The unit is available in either 1-ph or 3-ph. Standard equipment includes 8-in., 6-in. and 4-in. dust collection hook-ups. The two lower bags are made of clear plastic and can be replaced quickly. An optional vacuum line is available.

Modufil Inc. offers the Mat Maker, a ceiling-mounted dust collection unit which filters and recirculates up to 4,000 cfm of room air. This lowers heating/cooling costs, eliminates bag cleaning and saves on floor space. The company says that in a sanding environment, total dust concentrations were reduced by more than 50%.

The SPB system, designed and manufactured by Dixie Air Systems, allows versatility in the disposal of sawdust and shavings waste. The waste is utilized to heat the facility with the excess being disposed of by truck. Centrifugal force removes 96% of the particulate before the air enters the filter section resulting in lower filter maintenance and in OSHA approved clean air being released, the company says.

ODTI (Optical Detection Technologies Inc.) offers the new series 2000 Spark/Ember Detection System. This new system provides a cost-effective solution to the fire protection requirements of NSPA 664 and OSHA. The System 2000 provides spark detection, extinguishment and abort operation.

QuickWood offers portable dust collectors in sizes up to four bags. The DS 1, DS 2, DS 3 and DS 4 offer portable dust collection systems with up to four sleeves. The dust collectors are mounted on sturdy 4-wheeled bases. Bag diameters are 22 7/8 in. with 4 3/4-in. outlet diameters.

Hi-Tech Hose Inc. offers the Type RFH dust control hose. The hose is flexible and designed for use on a wide range of woodworking equipment including saws, belt sanders, routers and shapers. Available in diameters from 2 to 18 inches, RFH is constructed of wire-supported thermoplastic rubber which offers a wider temperature range and greater abrasion resistance than traditional rubber-coated fabric ducting, the company says.

Air Handling Systems offers dust collection components including spiral pipe, fittings and flex hoses.

The DusTop 3500 from Cemco Quality Machines is currently being offered with an optional UHMW work surface in place of the original Masonite type work surface. UHMW is an extremely durable plastic, machined to the same specifications as the original surface to ensure airflow is at the maximum amount of 3,500 cfm. Filters are reusable and have proven to last a minimum of 12 months.

Clarke's International says the PyroGuard System spark detection system has "Factory Mutual Research Approval." PyroGuard products include control consoles, sensors and suppression units.

The Flexaust Co. has introduced a general service ducting for the removal of dust and fumes from the industrial environment -- the FSP Flexible Duct. Available as FSP-1 (one ply) and FSP-II (two ply), these ducts feature: an OSHA orange wearstrip for safety and resistance to external abrasion, the chemical resistance of PVC, rated flame retardance and temperature range of -30F to 150F (200F intermittent). FSP is suitable for both positive and negative pressure applications.

The KTM portable dust collector S 1X is a 1-hp unit providing 810 cfm at 1-in. S.P. This unit, available from Kraemer Tool & Mfg. Co. has twice the filter area of the S 1 type and can handle mixed dust and light loads of fine dust. The S 1X has a 6-in. inlet and four casters with 4-in. diameters for easy movement.

MAC Equipment offers a dust control filter with a wedge-shaped cartridge element. Each element contains 480 sq ft of filtering area. The filter also features a high-rise inlet which provides a true "down flow" of air, thereby minimizing re-entry of dust particles, the company says.

Dust collectors designed by Murphy-Rodgers Inc. remove dust and other waste materials produced by saws, sanders, surfacers, routers, etc. The self-contained units are designed for either inside or outside installation and are available in a wide range of capacities operating from one to 200 hp.

To remove airborne grit, dirt, sand and dust, a complete range of industrial vacuum systems is available from PBR Industries. Featuring low noise levels, high efficiency suction power and sizes to meet many requirements, the Turbo-Vac Systems provide durability, the company says.

Vortec Corp. says its Hand-E-Vac industrial cleaning gun can pick up wood dust, powders, glass and spills quickly. The tool uses no electricity, has no moving parts and consumes less compressed air than a standard blowgun. A complete line of accessories for cleaning versatility are available.

The Dustek Tornado, form the Dustek Div. of Boshco Inc. is a 15-hp, four-bag, high capacity, self-contained, internal-return dust collector. This model can accommodate greater shavings-producing machines, servicing such machines as double-end tenoners, surface planers and dimension machinery, the company says.

Available from Scientific Dust Collectors, the SPJ pulse jet dust collector reportedly offers better performance through the use of Mach 2 nozzles and elimination of venturis. The Mach 2 nozzles or plain orifices, reportedly result in greater air-to-cloth ratio, decrease in compressed air usage, pressure drops and increases in bag life.

Woodlane Environmental Technology says its Woodlane 5000 Dust Arrestor changes the air in a 50-ft by 100-ft shop with a 10-ft ceiling every 10 minutes. This machine automatically advances its roll of filter media in response to a selected internal pressure drop. Thus, a constant maximum filter efficiency is maintained while using only the amount of filter needed.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's rule covering wood dust and 427 other substances bit the dust last month.

On March 22, the Solicitor General, the legal representative for federal agencies in Supreme Court matters, formally rejected OSHA's recommendation to appeal its 1989 Air Contaminants Standard to the U.S. Supreme Court. The standard was overturned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals last July on the grounds that OSHA had failed to prove that its standards were technologically or economically feasible.

The decision not to appeal the Air Contaminants Standard to the Supreme Court completes the union-led appeals process that began in 1989.

This decision effectively leaves the U.S. woodworking industry without a federal wood dust standard. The OSHA standard, which was intended to protect workers, set a permissible exposure limit of 5 milligrams per cubic meter. The rule would have required wood products companies to achieve compliance through the use of engineering controls by Dec. 31, 1993.

However, the March 22 decision does not impact individual state regulations covering workplace exposure limits for wood dust. Also, OSHA still has authority by its "general duty clause" to act against excessive exposures.

"As a matter of prudence, we recommend that employers continue to observe the 5mg/|m.sup.3~ level for wood dust exposure," said Katherine Rhyne, legal counsel for the Inter-Industry Wood Dust Coordinating Committee. The IIWDCC is a coalition of more than 20 industry groups that has supported OSHA's standard since it was established in 1989.

How, when, and if OSHA will take any additional action has not been decided. However, there is legislation pending that could reinstate the Air Contaminants Standard.

Rep. William Ford (D-Mich.) and Sen.s Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) have introduced an OSHA reform bill backed by organized labor. The "Comprehensive Occupational Safety and Health Reform Act" includes many provisions that are problematic for OSHA and for industry. Although the sponsors of the bill are hopeful that Congress will act on the legislation this year, it is not yet clear whether that will occur, Rhyne said.

"The Ford/Kennedy bill includes a section that would require OSHA to reinstate the Air Contaminants rule for general industry and to extend its applicability to the construction industry. (Congress' directive to OSHA to do this would supersede the Eleventh Court's decision.) OSHA would then be free to revise the limits individually via its normal rulemaking process.

"The Clinton Administration (which has not yet named an OSHA Administrator) has not taken a position on the subject of OSHA reform generally or the Air Contaminants issue specifically. OSHA staff members are known to favor revisions that would specifically empower them to conduct multi-substance rulemaking or ease the burdens of establishing standards," Rhyne said.

As for the future, "it is difficult to predict at this stage what will happen on the legislative front. However, it is important that you be aware of the prospect that the wood dust limit, among others, could be restored by Congress at some time in 1993 or 1994," Rhyne added.

In the meantime, both OSHA and the IIWDCC are optimistic that woodworking companies will observe the standard voluntarily. "We don't expect companies to slack off," said Dr. John Festa, co-chairman of the IIWDCC, "The 5mg/|m.sup.3~ standard is a limit that we found protective to worker's health and supported."

The union, on the other hand, supports a wood dust exposure limit of 1 mg/|m.sup.3~. The AFL-CIO, on behalf of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Jointers, began its challenge of OSHA's limits for wood dust and about 30 other chemicals 10 days after it was announced in 1989.
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Title Annotation:includes related article; reasons for complying with standard legislation for wood dust exposure
Author:Dunne, Beverly
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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