4 PRINCIPLES and 3 RULES OF EFFECTIVE BLASTING VENTILATION
Unfortunately, many contractors consider ventilation to simply be a compliance cost when in truth VENTILATION PAYS FOR ITSELF VIA A SAFER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE ENVIRONMENT. We offer these principles and guidelines to assist in the health, safety, and productivity of your workforce.
- Good ventilation helps maintain air quality within the breathing zone of an operator down to a point that allows the operator’s respirator to effectively deal with any remaining atmospheric contaminants.
- Good ventilation helps maintain Good Visibility by extracting dust and allowing lighting to illuminate the work area.
- Good ventilation brings in fresh air to dilute any contaminants in the work area preventing it from reaching an explosive level. Always use gas monitors.
- Good ventilation also protects against noxious dust or lead contaminants escaping the blasting enclosure and polluting the external environment.
3 RULES to follow when designing your ventilation system:
- Air should be brought in high – and extracted low. The reason for this is two-fold:
- First, solvent fumes and dust are heavier than air. High to low extraction uses gravity to assist in their removal, and
- This helps limit the exposure of these contaminants in the breathing zone of the operators. Ventilating upward will naturally lift contaminants and increase the odds of compromising PPE equipment and/or the vision of operators.
- The system needs to deliver the correct air flow to achieve the correct number of air changes (MEASURED IN CHANGES PER HOUR OR AIR VELOCITY THROUGH THE WORK AREA) – and this depends on the following three factors:
- Type of contaminants being discharged
- Type of work
- Size of space
- Hazardous dust or fumes need to be properly captured or exhausted safely to comply with environmental or OSHA regulations.
- If work area is encapsulated the cross-sectional area should be as small as possible.