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Owner won't invest in dust collection--how do I make dollar bill argument?2/26
So we do have some dust collection. But no where near enough. And the shop is medium sized, and growing fast.
CNC is outrageously dust collection hungry. Lots of machines that actually have a dust collection circuitry hooked up have pretty much permanently closed shut off valves, as bogging down the CNC is definitely not a good idea.
So govt safety authorities are down their throat lately about air quality. There has been 2 massive sawmill fires in our area in the last year so it is definitely a hot topic.
But still no budging. But I don't want to just waltz in and ask for better dust collection-- I realize that I need a very strong argument. Do you folks have any fuel for me?
It is rare for any shop management to see dust collection as a priority since it does not have dollar return attached to it like a CNC router, gang saw, etc. would. Dust collection is also the number one cobbled together, DIY, inefficient, half ass machine in the shop. Then, you still have to deal with the dust once collected....
All an employee can do is drop a dime on the owner to the State and Fed safety guys. Be sure you are anonymous, and realize that they typically do not act on anonymous tips as a matter of policy. Or so they say. They get lots of calls from disgruntled employees, on their way out the door.
Insurance people also have a liability here, though very few of them understand it. Again, how you can get them in to test the air....? Local fire department does annual inspections of commercial spaces here, and have helped me see problems I did not think I had with stuff piling up, stacks too close to the ceiling, etc. It feels intrusive to have these guys come in, but it is good to have them on your side.
I wish you luck. Ultimately, if you cannot change them, you would have to change the job.
I agree with David, this is a health and safety issue, not a dollar and cents issue.
I have been in your predicament twice in my career, where the owner didn't want to spend the money to keep his employees safe and healthy. In both instances, I realized that I could not work for someone willing to sacrifice others' health for their own profit, and did exactly what David recommended and went to OSHA with "informal" complaints (which did get anonymously passed back to the owner). I followed that up by finding a new company to work for, one that actually cares more about people than money.
It's a tough situation to find yourself, I know, but ask yourself how you would feel if there is a dust explosion and someone gets seriously injured or killed. Could you sleep at night knowing you didn't do all you could to remedy the situation?
As a supervisor or manager it is your responsibility to take a strong stance against any perceived threat to peoples' health and safety. The fact that the owner doesn't share those feelings is disturbing to say the least, but that's his problem, don't make it yours as well!
I don't know how fast this may happen... but given the last years massive dust explosions in our area, I've been thinking about insurance companies. Would an insurance company have incentive to price out their fees in relation to combustibles in the air? After the incidents of this mass, I;ve heard it's become a topic.
Maybe not right now, but I could see it happen some day. Its definitely in the works here, I hear. Work authorities have been up their (body part) and down their throats about it in our shop. And this is new--safety visits in the last few years had yeilded nothing, but this year, holy.
I think they will probably eventually get slapped with a fat fine and have to do it. Baby steps, but steps none the less. I wish they could just beat the punch.
As for air quality testing, I looked into it, and in Canada there is two facets two it. Previously it was only a question of testing employees to see if they had the appropriate mask for the air quality around them. But now that they are afraid of dust explosions, I'm waiting to see what develops.