EXPOSURE RISKS FOR CAST IRON GRINDING DUST
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates metallic dusts and fumes with a special vigor due to their particular dangers to workers. While cast iron grinding involves far less toxicity than other metalworking processes, it is still crucial for employers to protect workers. Exposure to iron oxide, a substance sometimes encountered in cast iron grinding, is a danger, as well. This substance has been associated with cases of pulmonary siderosis, an occupational lung disease.
Iron dust is also listed by OSHA as a combustible dust. Cast iron grinding facilities must be aware of dust accumulating in a confined space. These particulates, combined in just the right proportion with oxygen in such a space, pose an ignition risk. Dust explosions can be highly destructive and can cause injury or death to workers.
REGULATIONS FOR CAST IRON GRINDING DUST
Most dust concerns involved with cast iron grinding will fall under OSHA’s total dust limit of 15 mg/m3. This permissible exposure limit (PEL) is a cap on a worker’s exposure as averaged over an 8-hour shift. The PEL for iron oxide is more strict. Workers are only allowed 10 mg/m3 during the course of a shift.
As with all OSHA regulations, compliance is necessary to avoid serious fines. Citations are a paperwork hassle, a legal liability and potentially a very large expense.