Sweeping or blowing of fugitive dust during housekeeping is widely discouraged by U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Seemingly benign, dusts create an assortment of hazards that include flying particles that can lead to eye injury, slip hazards and ergonomic injuries.

The most serious hazards surrounding the sweeping and blowing of dust threaten lives, such as respiratory and explosion hazards. The use of vacuums is almost always recommended as a preferred method of removing fugitive dust. Rather than redistributing dust, industrial vacuum cleaners remove dust and therefore reduce or eliminate the previously mentioned hazards.

In response to OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP), many facility and safety managers have revamped their housekeeping practices and added industrial vacuum cleaners approved for use in Class II Div II areas to mitigate the possibility of secondary explosions caused by fugitive dust.

However, of the more than 1,000 inspections that OSHA has completed, only 18 to 22 percent of the facilities were in compliance with OSHA requirements.