While air conditioning and local directed ducts in factories can be useful to remove some of the dangerous dust, it is often not sufficient to reduce over-exposure for workers close to dust hotspots that occur in manufacturing lines. Also, many workers are mobile within the factory and may move in and out of these exposure zones throughout their shift and don’t typically wear PPE.

Additionally, it can be difficult to know where the boundaries of these exposure zones are – where can a person work safely without exceeding exposure limits and where can they not? While some workers in known hot spots wear PPE, others around them including line staff and supervisors likely don’t.

DustCount Real-time Monitors

A real-time, wearable dust monitor can be worn by staff who do not typically wear PPE so that their personal exposure can be monitored to keep them safe. The DustCount’s alarm functions would notify these workers if they enter a dangerous zone.

Additionally, the DustCount can be used to instantly map out the boundaries of  hotspots to allow for implementation, modification, or maintenance of engineering controls to reduce the exposure risk or for the formation of PPE-mandatory zones. By knowing precisely where the dust issue is, efforts and funds can be used to mitigate problems in the most efficient way.

Without real-time readings, IH’s or HSE staff must rely on collecting samples and sending them to a lab. It typically takes weeks to obtain the results and begin making improvements to the workspace. Collected samples only provide averaged values over the sampling time period, which means that spikes are not recorded. Results may also underestimate certain locations around the factory if the sampling device was moved around the site during the sampling period.

Industry 4.0 / HSE 4.0

As factories move towards Industry 4.0 and HSE 4.0, the DustCount can be auto downloaded during and after shifts to support this initiative. The DustCount is an IoT device that can work with wireless networks to backhaul data, so that a single IH can:

  • monitor workers on the floor from their laptop or tablet
  • make changes to monitoring strategies on the fly
  • view worker exposures and alarms immediately to take corrective actions
  • record all of this for transparency and traceability to show proof that the workers are being protected
  • use these workers as roving sensors to tell them if there is any degradation of mitigation equipment anywhere in the factory so they can plan preventative maintenance before problems arise

Application Note

Learn how Nanozen’s DustCount personal wearable monitors can be used in a processing plant setting to monitor workers throughout an 8 hour shift.