Performing maintenance or troubleshooting inside your baghouse can be dangerous. Here are some basic baghouse entry procedures you can implement to minimize accidents and hazards.
Power Down & Lock Out
Before you begin any maintenance or troubleshooting on your dust collection system, your first and most important step is to power down and lockout any machinery. Securing your baghouse for personnel entry can include locking down your rotary valve, locking your blower, or sealing off any adjacent baghouse compartments.
Also, make sure to shut off the compressed air supply to the pulse jet cleaning system and allow the system to cycle until the pressure is relieved before entering the baghouse. Taking these initial steps provides a safe working environment and will ensure that accidents are minimized.
Safety in a Confined Space
The inside of your dust collection system is almost always defined as a “confined space”. No matter the application, it’s best to ensure you have safety guidelines in place whenever entry into your baghouse needs to occur. Here are some of the general safety precautions you can take.
Designate an additional crew member as a watchman. They should be present at the entrance point to ensure safety procedures are being followed and can immediately assist should any complications occur.
It’s important to let your team know what work is being done, where, and at what time. This allows others to re-schedule any work that could impede on safe entry into your baghouse.
If you are working with combustible dust, make sure the dust levels inside of your system are well below being explosive. All hot work, like welding, should be performed well outside of the perimeter of your baghouse. If hot work must be done inside the baghouse, thoroughly purge the space with clean air until dust is no longer present.
A total shut down and lock out of your baghouse will minimize safety hazards, but you shouldn’t hesitate to formulate a retrieval plan should an emergency occur while employees are in inside the confined space.
PPE Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA requirements for protective gear will vary based on your application. Basic protection can include a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and a face mask. Before entry into your baghouse system, make sure that your crew is supplied with and compliant in wearing safety gear required for your application. You can find additional information on OSHA’s website about personal protection equipment hazards and solutions https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/personalprotectiveequipment/hazards_solutions.html