Wood dust or sawdust is a potential problem in almost all woodworking applications. In all types of woodworking environments, wood dust and sawdust can pose serious health and fire hazards.
Wood dust is actually a particulate pollutant in the air. A valuable tool for controlling wood dust is a waste collection system. Industrial dust collectors are specifically designed to remove airborne contaminants from particulate matter and have fast acting valve in them.
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Wood dust has been classified as a potential health and safety hazard by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Continuous exposure to wood dust can cause long-term health problems and short-term irritation of the sinuses, skin and lungs.
Wood shop owners should refer to OSHA standards for exposing employees to wood dust. Besides health, there are many good reasons to use dust collectors in forest shops. Burnt wood and dust resulting from cutting are serious potential fire hazards.
If fine wood dust is highly concentrated in air and exposed to sparks, an explosion may occur, similar to what can happen in a grain silo. If you try to apply a fine finish using airborne wood dust, the dust will cause imperfections in the final product. Wood dust can also have a negative impact on power tools and machines and shorten their service life.