A reader comments: "We have a campus that includes some buildings that OSHA is requiring a higher level of dust control. Do you have any suggestions?"

In turns out that upon further investigation, the buildings noted are machine shops and labs that generate a lot of particulate dust containing metal filings, wood fiber and other products that can have a negative impact on a person's respiratory and health over an extended period of time. Someone filed a complaint with OSHA about IAQ (indoor air quality) that prompted an unannounced site visit from OSHA. They noted the IAQ that was aggravated further by strong oil and chemical odors suspended in the air.

Based upon the customer's revised specifications, we need to identify a multi-stage HEPA filtration system that will be used on hard and carpeted floors. This vacuum system must document how often filters are changed in coordination with the building HVAC system filters. Workers will need to be trained in proper use as well as maintenance since the particulate count was very high. Except in limited cases, dust mops and brooms will be discouraged. Instead, the floors and other surfaces will be vacuumed with the HEPA type units along with microfiber cloths and damp mops.

When possible, air vents, ledges, pipes and all horizontal surfaces will be vacuumed rather than dusted. Desks, shelves and flat surfaces shall be dusted using dampened microfiber cloths that can capture the dust and then be laundered. A color coding system will identify which areas the cloths are to be used since we want to reduce/eliminate cross contamination from workshop to office area. There will also be frequent solution and mop changes for floor care since it is very important that dust is not moved from one place to another.

Utilizing this system should radically the IAQ in the noted buildings and satisfy OSHA's requirements. Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.