The Importance of Heavy Metal Dust Decontamination in Industrial Facilities

December 23rd, 2018 | in Industrial Vacuum

Dust in the Workplace - Compliance with Safety and Regulators

If you work in an industrial setting, you may have had to deal with a great deal of dust. You might think that dust is harmless, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Under the right conditions, dust can become toxic to workers and combustible. Combustible means that accumulated dust can cause a serious explosion. Building and facility owners must conform with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 652 requirements to earn NFPA 652 Compliance.


Prior to dust removal or abatement, a qualified person must complete a dust hazard assessment (DHA) based on NFPA 652 guidelines. This will include samples be taken from various areas for analysis. The dust test is used to determine whether the dust in the facility is combustible or not. These results will go towards an understanding of what types of equipment and expertise is needed for safe dust removal.

Metal dusts can be some of the most hazardous explosive dusts. There are many that require a verity of equipment and cleanup procedures. Metal dust DHA requires analysis and cleanup protocols that follow NFPA 484, 654, and 652 guidelines.

There are a number of qualified professional companies that do dust sampling and analysis. They will typically include a KST test (a mathematical formula) and a “no-go-go” test in their analysis. This test determines the explosiveness of the dust. A “go” result means that under basic testing, the dust will explode. A “no-go” result indicates a non-explosive, but possibly still flammable, dust.


For most large dust abatement jobs, the safest and most cost-effective dust removal system is often a properly grounded Class II, Division 2 vacuum loader coupled with an experienced abatement team utilizing appropriate safe-work procedures. Enviro-Vac utilize an assortment of NFPA compliant industrial vacuums and vacuum loaders that allow safe and efficient removal of unwanted dust and debris. Disposal of collected debris include options for virtually dust free disposal or packaging through the use of an automated bagging system and can include recycling options.



Toxic metals, including "heavy metals" are individual metals and metal compounds that along with many other forms of dust can negatively affect people's health. Exposing workers to dust on a job site can contribute to a number of health risks, and it is imperative that companies employ approved safety measures to minimize dust levels within their facilities.

Some possible and common heavy metal dust contaminants to be aware of in commercial, industrial and marine facilities are:

•  Arsenic

•  Asbestos

•  Beryllium

•  Cadmium

•  Chromium

•  Lead

•  Silica

These heavy metals are often in the form of fine dust, and can advertently be inhaled and/or absorbed.

Chronic heavy metal contamination is the gradual buildup of heavy metals in your body that can possibly cause health problems down the road. Some possible symptoms of chronic heavy metal poisoning include

-        Headaches

-        Fatigue

-        Muscle and joint pain

-        Constipation

-        Weakness

Acute heavy metal poisoning is the result of exposure to a large amount of a heavy metal at one time. This can lead to possible symptoms such as:

-        Confusion

-        Nausea and vomiting

-        Numbness

-        Coma

The seriousness of these symptoms and prevalence of heavy metal dust highlights the importance that the proper protocol is followed.

Expertise of Enviro-Vac Trained Personnel

The capabilities of our personnel, our certificates of approval, and our long-term focus on innovation has driven our reputation for delivering cost efficient and flexible environmental contracting services and abatement of hazardous materials and from the early beginning, our expertise in industrial vacuum services.

Enviro-Vac is one of the largest privately owned hazardous materials abatement and decontamination contractors in Canada that offer a full suite of services in hazardous materials abatement, decontamination and industrial vacuum services including negative pressure shrink- wrap containments. Enviro-Vac are available to work both small and large-scale projects across Canada. The head office is based in Surrey, BC.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about hazardous materials abatement, decontamination, industrial vacuum services and industrial dust down or negative pressure shrink-wrap containments, please call us on our toll-free number, 1 (888) 296-2499.

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