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Metalworking can be a dangerous profession if shops do not adhere to adequate safety measures. Allowing dust particles and hazardous fumes to spread through a facility can and will endanger staff members, exposing them to potential illness. Knowing how a metalworking shop can improve air quality will significantly increase safety and worker trust within the company, leading to greater productivity and more efficient fabrication.

Utilize Downdraft Tables

Using a downdraft table when cutting metal pieces will suck up the particulate matter the cutting creates. The vacuum inside the table sucks up the fine metal dust, pulling it down and away from the workers cutting the metal.

The metal shavings then collect in a secure container, preventing any staff members from becoming exposed to the hazardous dust. A downdraft table is a simple piece of equipment that will benefit your shop significantly, even outside of guaranteeing cleaner air.

Invest in Fume Extractors

While downdraft tables are specific pieces of equipment for a specialized purpose, fume extractors are highly versatile tools with a range of uses. There are many reasons for a shop to have a fume extractor, but the most common is the machine’s ability to suck up metal dust.

The extender arm can reach directly into the work area, getting the metal shavings right at the source, protecting workers, and keeping workspaces clean. Like the downdraft table, the dust collects in a separate area for easy and safe disposal.

Ensure Proper Ventilation Throughout the Facility

Keeping the air in your shop moving is critical to cycle out the contaminated oxygen. Even implementing other ways to improve your metalworking shop’s air still won’t be enough if you don’t have adequate ventilation and airflow.

Have a suitable HVAC system that can stand up to the needs of your shop and always perform regular maintenance. Even in the most pristine of environments, an HVAC system will clog and break down; this is far more common in metalworking, making it necessary to check on the system routinely.

Prioritize Worker Safety

The metalworkers who spend hours at a time in a fabrication shop need to know you have their best interests in mind. Long-term exposure to fine metal dust will poison the body and lead to debilitating illnesses later in life. Protect your workers and always provide them with a safe and clean work environment.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.