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Boat Manufacturers Join the Combustible Dust Current

Posted on October 7, 2010

In a recent post, on Boating Industry Insider Jeff Elliott discusses the concerns of fiberglass manufacturers as they brace themselves for OSHA’s stepped up efforts on combustible dust.  In an industry with heavy sanding and grinding processes, hazardous fiberglass dust can be found in abundance in these facilities. In the post, Jeff discusses the concerns of meeting NFPA 68, the Standard on Explosion Protection by Deflagration Venting and points out that many of these composite facilities use “closed-vessel” dust collection systems to collect dust; systems that may not meet the NFPA 68 standards.

GM811 w sanderWhile the cost to upgrade or replace these systems can be high, fiberglass facilities may also want to explore using portable industrial vacuum cleaners (click here for more info on explosion-proof vacuums) to capture fugitive dust.  By using vacuum assisted power tools, like a sander connected to a vacuum, operators can easily and quickly collect hazardous dust at the source, before it can accumulate in other parts of the facility. A good example is Shamrock Boats, who several years ago invested in 2 Nilfisk vacuum cleaners–a GM811 and today’s equivalent of the S3.  By using the vacuums on a regular basis during sanding operations, the facility was able to improve air quality by 94.4%.  Read the full story here.

In addition to NFPA 68, fiberglass manufacturers should also familiarize themselves with NFPA 654 and OSHA’s NEP on Combustible Dust.