Indoor air quality
Indoor air quality in the shop is very important for many reasons. First is the employee safety and health, second is government regulations and third is the effect of poor indoor air quality on the equipment and other parts of the operation.
In states, such as my home state of Washington, we have state industrial safety and health. They have a voluntary compliance program. As part of which, they will come in and put collection meters on the employees to collect air samples. They will then analyze these for particulates and report the results to you. I believe California and a few other states have similar programs. If you’re in a state with private insurance, often times insurance companies will test your indoor air quality for you.
If you don’t want to bring the government in your operation then, I suppose, your best option is to find a private lab that can test your indoor air quality.
In any case, government regulations are not written in terms of air quality. They are written in terms of worker exposure. The government really doesn’t care how dirty your areas are as long as you are taking measures to protect your employees.
If you’re going to install a ventilation system, you really should have the air quality tested to see where you stand and to determine how much you need to improve.
Ventilation systems are typically straightforward and range from fairly inexpensive to as much money as you want to spend.
It is quite common in saw shop’s to see a simple collection system that gathers air from over the brazing station and from the grinders and then blows that air up through the roof. In many jurisdictions this is perfectly legal and acceptable. You will want to check your local laws very carefully because each city, county, village state or whatever political subdivision may have their own air quality laws.
When you exhaust the shop air through the roof, make sure you take into account the direction of the prevailing wind, as you really don’t want to have the wind blowing your exhaust back into the shop.
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