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What Happens if you Ignore Proper Ventilation and Dust Extraction?

Home DIY is an incredibly popular activity that has seen a surge in activity over the last 18 months. As self-isolation came into force at various points during 2020, many people took it upon themselves to do a few home improvements.

A decision that many DIY enthusiasts made was to make a home workshop. There are some incredible ideas for renovating garage space, and utilizing it as a work area is a popular one.

image - What Happens if you Ignore Proper Ventilation and Dust Extraction?
What Happens if you Ignore Proper Ventilation and Dust Extraction?

Commercial workshops must meet certain regulations so that they are safe to work in, and conditions are not hazardous for employees. Two of the things that must be checked regularly are ventilation and dust extraction.

However, when making a workshop at home, many people overlook this area. If you ignore the need for dust extraction or don’t ventilate your workspace, it can actually be dangerous.

Why is Ventilation in a Workshop So Important?

It may seem obvious to state that ventilation is important, after all, everyone needs air to breathe. However, ventilation does so much more for a work area.

No matter whether you have a home workshop area in your basement, garage, or shed, or you work in a commercial space, you need good ventilation to protect the area. Without proper ventilation, wood can rot, condensation can build, and mold can grow. Tools and machinery can rust too.

Good ventilation helps to regulate the temperature in the workspace, along with the moisture. This also affects how effective the worker is too. No one wants to work in a humid, sweaty environment, especially when there is a lot of dust.

Workshops need Dust Extraction as Well as Ventilation

You may know how to make a great DIY space in your garage, but did you consider dust extraction?

Just as poor ventilation can lead to corrosion of tools and machinery, dust brings many perils and inconveniences too.

Dust can make machine buttons stick, it can provide a slipping hazard, it can be combustible, and it can jam power tools and machines. But even worse, it can cause not just irritation to eyes, skin, and throats, it can be fatal.

It might be hard to believe, but there are numerous diseases linked to the various types of dust that both home and commercial workshops can produce.


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What are the Health Hazards of Dust?

Dust for most people means the stuff that lies on top of books in a library that has lain still for some time. When it comes to DIY, construction, and manufacturing, however, dust can be far more serious.

The American Lung Association lists numerous respiratory illnesses such as silicosis, which can affect anyone working with certain materials. Stonemasons and construction workers are at risk of this disease which is caused by breathing in silica dust.

Other types of dust can irritate the skin or eyes, others make breathing difficult. Some types of dust can cause allergies, or increase the symptoms of existing ones.

Many of the illnesses caused by dust can be fatal, which is why commercial workshops are held to very strict standards.

Treat your Workshop as If It Is a Commercial Site

Any manufacturing facility or workshop would need to have proper ventilation and dust extraction installed. These systems should be regularly checked and serviced.

Treating your home workshop in the same way as a commercial one will mean you are reducing one more of the hazards that come with these activities. This isn’t caused by installing an expensive system or spending a lot of money though.

A commercial workshop would have dust extraction servicing regularly to make sure their systems are up to par.

The dust extraction experts would look at what the potential health hazards are, draw up recommendations, and check they were being acted on.

You can do something similar in your own workshop.

Set your Dust Extraction Up in Your Home Workspace

Dust extraction systems could be costly for a garage workshop, but you can still make your own system that works.

Use a portable dust collector and make a dust hood for it. This can extract the dust as you work. Use shop-bought vacuums to clean up sawdust and other light dust each time you use your workshop.

You can also look at bench tools with fitted dust ports. Downdraft benches are also a great idea if they suit your budget.

Summary

According to OSHA, work-related diseases account for nearly 2.5 million fatalities a year around the world. Thankfully, most of these illnesses are unlikely to be caught in the home workshop. However, breathing in any dust created from DIY is potentially harmful.

Making sure you have good ventilation will help to take care of your workshop and the tools inside it. Fitting some good dust extraction solutions can make sure that you are taken care of too.

If you have a commercial workshop then it isn’t just a good idea, it is most likely a legal requirement.