Manufacturing, by definition, tends to load up the workplace all sorts of hazardous particles, fibers, fumes, even airborne bacteria and other harmful agents by cutting, shaping materials and using various processes to produce products. And without proper air filtration systems and procedures in place, people are going to get hurt, production and profits will decrease, and costs will go up. Not the right direction for any business trying to succeed in the marketplace.
And sometimes, wearing masks to stop the fumes from chemical additives like diacetyl, a flavor enhancer used in popcorn, wine, and fast foods is all you need, assuming everyone wears the mask at all times… ? Diacetyl, for example, is particularly hazardous if inhaled and can cause a condition with permanent damage to the lungs much like COPD called bronchiolitis obliterans. And often, avoiding manufacturing pollutants isn’t as simple as requiring that employees wear a mask or respirator.
When you have large quantities of various types of pollutants (including bacteria unless the masks have military carbon and HEPA filters, they aren’t going to stop everything. And when employees take the mask off, they’re going to get a dose of those pollutants. As a business owner, you know that these instances will cause a jump in expenses, one way or another, which is not what we want. That’s why, in most cases, it’s much smarter to not rely solely on masks, but to ensure that a proper indoor air purification system with HEPA and properly-tuned activated carbon filters is in place to keep those things out of the air.
Properly-tuned carbon? Yes. Not all activated carbon air filtration systems are the same, and there many cases where standard, even industrial strength carbon must be activated in a certain way to ensure its ability to remove certain chemicals. And if you don’t, those chemicals will go right through the system and be circulated for everyone to breathe, point the liability finger at you and leave you with unnecessary troubles.
If you’re not sure what’s in your air, it’s best to ask an industrial air quality specialist about it. Tell them what you’re doing, the products that you’re using and how people are exposed to those products, and ask if they can tune the carbon where necessary for your manufacturing operation. This is a big deal, and when business owners don’t pay attention to proper air quality in manufacturing situations, the result is having to pay a lot more in expenses than the proper air purification system would have cost or the few extra minutes to customize a carbon blend to ensure proper chemical removal, etc.
The time and money you spend to ensure clean air will pay huge dividends with increased productivity, higher revenues, lower healthcare costs, and it’s all tax deductible. And, you’re far less likely to get hit with OSHA or other regulatory fines or be held liable for various things. Air purification is a smart investment for any manufacturing business.