The dust hazard analysis (DHA) requirements of NFPA 652 push manufacturers to assess the dust control situation at their facilities. By conducting a DHA, facility managers…
The AZEK Company
Working in a Cloud of Dust
At The AZEK Company’s plant in Scranton, PA, dust was a continual problem. In this location, employees work to mix powders for PVC Sheets and Composite Lumber. The result was a 50’ tall blending tower inundated with flammable dust. Floating in the air, resting on surfaces, the dust wasn’t just a compliance issue. It was also a significant health concern for employees.
To curb the perpetual dust buildup, staff spent time cleaning instead of focusing on more critical tasks. Between the floating particulate, the slip hazards caused by settling dust, and impending insurance premium increases, management knew it needed to act.
“It was hurting the bottom line,” Tom Matechik, Manufacturing Engineer at The AZEK Company, said. “With the tower standing 50’ high, it’s difficult to clean without the right equipment.”
The complicated layout meant that in some places, 1/4-1/2” of dust could build up before housekeeping was able to deal with it. They received a quote for one-time cleaning of flat surfaces at the cost of $36,000. Knowing this level of cleaning would be required multiple times per year, adding this line item to the budget wasn’t a wise long-term financial decision.