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Thread: Wood Dust OSHA standard

  1. #1

    Wood Dust OSHA standard

    Hobby WW here & wondering if there is something published besides the wearing a filter & testing to see if your taking in too much dust per OSHA regulations. The OSHA web site states that "excessive" amounts of dust are a problem. I'm wondering besides actual filter/lab testing is there a any simple guideline as to what is "excessive" amounts. As in hearing protection OSHA lists so many decibels per a time limit for exposure and there are lists of tools/engines of how many DB's there putting out, you can get an App to measure & nine times out of ten your ears will tell you immediately if you need hearing protection.
    I'll work on a project for a few weeks than maybe a month or 2 later start another, never more than 6 hs a day in the shop.. I have a POS wall mounted dust collector with a 1 micron bag which works OK with Jointer, planer & TS, but small tools sander,router,ect, DC is not so great, when dust is looking bad I'll wear an N95 until I'm finished with the task.
    I'm thinking of upgrading my DC system to a Jet 1100 cfm & canister filter but that's about as far as I think I need take it.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    This is getting close to "too much dust" less than this you don't need to worry.


  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lou Brava View Post
    I'm thinking of upgrading my DC system to a Jet 1100 cfm & canister filter but that's about as far as I think I need take it.
    Keep in mind that it's not really capable of pulling 1100 CFM at normal static pressures for in the shop. A 4" hose can't pass more than about 450 CFM and a 6" hose caps out at about 800 CFM...under ideal conditions. Having duct work adds to the fun and games.

    I'm not familiar with how to access OSHA information, but wearing PPI and, perhaps also using an air cleaner filter, isn't a bad idea since the DC is great as a chip collector but not necessarily going to capture all the fines that are dangerous, even with "the best" collector in the shop.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hennebury View Post
    This is getting close to "too much dust" less than this you don't need to worry.

    I bet anyone working there will have COPD by the time he's 50
    "What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
    It also depends on what sort of person you are.

  5. #5
    One thought is to get a monitoring device which shows the current PPM count in the workspace, so you know how much dust (or not) you have. Some tools which may not seem like big dust producers may be making unexpected amounts. It also lets you know how much dust is lingering in the air after you are finished (if for example, the space is used for something else like a garage where you may be doing activities in that space not related to woodworking)
    I know there are recommendations based on PM2.5 - less than 50 PPM is considered fine, 50-100 unhealthy for sensitive groups. This is usually related to wildfire smoke (at least where I live). There is a time factor, as well as activity (exercise will result in you breathing more of it in).
    For myself, I still use my monitoring device only as a guideline, since it may located many feet from where I'm actively doing something. My workshop also is my garage, and when doing woodworking, I try to keep the garage door open to get fresh air, but this is more doable for me here in California than it may be for many others.

  6. #6
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    Well he could wear a disposable dust mask and then maybe he wouldn't have COPD until he was 100, and you could extrapolate that to a hobbyist with a disposable dust mask making to 1000.

    There is a lot of unfounded fear about dust. especially within the hobbyist community. Millions of people all around the world work in dusty environment's, if half of what you hear about the evils of dust were true, people wouldn't last a month in their workshops, their lungs would clog up and they would die! Chill out.

    Wear a disposable dust mask, ear plugs, and safety glasses, if you have a dust collector hooked up to your jointer and thicknessplaner your golden!

    Quote Originally Posted by Patty Hann View Post
    I bet anyone working there will have COPD by the time he's 50

  7. #7
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    I'm kind of glad to actually have the luxury of dealing with health and safety laws at work.

    Mostly because I've been to places that don't.
    ~mike

    happy in my mud hut

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    Good demonstrations here of feeling that your own experiences are correct for all. We're all different. Some folks are also comfortable not using guards on their machines . Early on I wore a mask and had a bagger style collector. I am now on medication for the rest of my life, have two ambient cleaners, and a much more powerful cyclone separator that exhausts outside of the work area. I can't say that if I had done more sooner I would be in better shape but . . . at least I can still do woodworking with the appropriate safety measures for my situation. I do run a Dylos to stay informed of the environment.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 11-14-2023 at 8:25 PM. Reason: Add Dylos Info
    "A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg".


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    On occasion, I will check the dust levels in my shop using this PM Detector. It is available on Amazon for about $42 and also on eBay. I will hang it at about head height near whatever tool I am using.

    Screenshot_20231114-061017_kindlephoto-341746834.jpg

  11. #11
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    Lots of governmental gobbledygook, but I think the standard is 5mg/m3 respirable fraction and 15mg/m3 total dust, but I'm no chemist or bureaucrat. It seems to be hidden way in the multiple documents.
    OSHA Standards.jpg

    It's characterized as "Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated, Total and Respirable Dust (PNOR). Only our government could take a simple term like wood dust and turn it into that incomprehensible phrase.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
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  12. #12
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    It goes back to, "everybody's different". Just because Joe Blow didn't develop a problem after 40 years of some activity doesn't mean you won't. We all know, and cherish, the stories about the 90+ year old person who smoked and drank a lot during his/her life. OTOH, there are those that didn't make it to 50.

    The very fine dust, that is hard to totally capture with a DC or air filters unless you have a real good HEPA system or wear a good respirator, is what gets into your nose and lungs and causes problems.

    Wood is a Group 1 carcinogenic and is known to increase the incidents of sinus and nasal cancers among others. This risk appears to be wood type related with aspen being no problem and oak a more serious risk. For those who love sniffing fireplace/campfire smoke, it's nasty too because it contains small particles.

    There more exposure you have, either dues to dust density in the air and/or time exposed, increases the risk. I'm in my 70s so I am not overly concerned at this stage in my life but if I was a much younger WWer, I'd be paying a lot more attention to the risks since there is a lot of time for bad things to develop. Like my cancer (unrelated to WWing) doctor said something, perhaps a long time ago, flipped some DNA and now it is showing up.
    Last edited by Bill Howatt; 11-14-2023 at 11:07 AM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Frank View Post
    On occasion, I will check the dust levels in my shop using this PM Detector. It is available on Amazon for about $42 and also on eBay. I will hang it at about head height near whatever tool I am using.

    Screenshot_20231114-061017_kindlephoto-341746834.jpg

    This looks like a good way go, spend the 40 bucks & see whats really going on in the air & compare it to the OSHA particulate standards for whatever that would be worth. As It seems there is nothing published for "allowable exposure to excessive dust. In other words the OSHA standard for hearing is an allowable time limit to excessive noise. I know OSHA is 100% for employee protection so there looking at shop environments where employees are there 8hrs a day which is an entirely different ball game than my "shop". I also realize dust is harmful & in a perfect world a dust free shop would be great. If I was doing WW even 2-3 days a week 6-8 hrs a day I would invest the money & time & try to get there. For now I'll try the PM detector using my current set up & see what I'm really breathing & take it from there.
    Thanks for all the replies & info,

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Frank View Post
    On occasion, I will check the dust levels in my shop using this PM Detector. It is available on Amazon for about $42 and also on eBay. I will hang it at about head height near whatever tool I am using.

    Screenshot_20231114-061017_kindlephoto-341746834.jpg
    Larry, can you clarify what items and their respective values you're looking at?

  15. #15
    having a dysos particle counter in my shop has been revelatory

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