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February 9th, 2015 – Introduced in 2008, OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) contains policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that create and handle combustible dusts. However, some manufacturers of industrial vacuum cleaners in North America have been promoting uncertified vacuum cleaners for the recovery of aluminum dust, to car repair and body shops across the continent. This puts the safety of installations and of workers at risk.
The main focus of OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) is to create awareness, identify and properly address the hazards of combustible dust. This includes metal dust and aluminum dust. These dusts represent a growing concern in the automotive industry with the increasing use of aluminum in the construction of cars and pick-ups.
Industrial vacuum cleaners are present in car repair and body shops as they are often attached to sanding kit to ensure the recovery of metal dust at the point of generation. Since portable vacuum cleaners fall under OSHA’s Combustible Dust NEP, they must be NRTL certified, which is the requirement to comply with OSHA. Sadly, it is not always the case, and involuntarily, some manufacturers have been putting the lives of workers at risk by selling vacuum cleaners that are not OSHA NRTL approved for the recovery of combustible dusts in hazardous locations.
A Tiger-Vac vacuum cleaner sold to recover combustible dust meets all requirements to keep workers and work installations safe. There is no question about whether or not, or when or how a portable vacuum cleaner should be certified: OSHA’s Combustible Dust NEP is a law and as such, the vacuum cleaner must be NRTL certified. If manufacturers keep selling non-certified vacuum cleaners to repair shops, then what? Who needs OSHA?