A Solution for Real-Time Oil Mist Monitoring

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In many manufacturing plants, machine shops, and metalworking facilities, oil mist, and the dangers, it poses to workers is a constant, significant concern, and rightly so. When workers are exposed to oil mist for any substantial period of time, it affects their skin and respiratory systems in dangerous ways.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is aware of the dangers of airborne oil particulates of any kind and has set a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for mineral oil mist at 5 mg/m3. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published its own Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) at about 0.5 m/m3 for the total particulate mass of airborne oil mist. However, while oil mist is known to make conditions unsafe for workers, it is difficult to monitor without the right equipment.

The current way of measuring airborne oil mist uses a PVC filter in a cassette that is connected to a tube opening near the worker’s mouth. The device collects a sample of the air near the worker’s breathing zone. The total volume is then calculated by multiplying the meter’s runtime by the flow rate of the pump within the device. Once sample collection is complete, the filter is sent to a lab and the analysis is completed and returned up to 10 days later. If there is a dangerous amount of oil mist in the air the worker is breathing, he or she will not know about it for more than a week and will continue to work in those conditions in the meantime. There is a serious need for real-time oil mist measurement.

There is a device sometimes used for oil mist data collection that a light-scattering, photometric system to collect real-time measurements, but it lacks precision, and lab analysis results for oil mist levels in air samples will often differ significantly from measurements taken by the light-scattering device. This is where the Kanomax 3520 Series Piezobalance Dust Monitor can be extremely beneficial.

Kanomax’s Piezobalance Dust Monitor weighs particulates in the air, as opposed to collecting an air sample for lab analysis or measuring light scattering. As air enters the device, it travels through the impactor, which captures and removes larger particulates from the sample. Smaller particulates become electrically charged and are deposited onto the piezo-crystal. The total mass of the deposited particulates affects the piezo crystal's frequency. Since the change in frequency is proportional to the mass of the particulates, the particulates’ actual weight can be obtained, delivering a much more accurate, real-time measurement of oil mist particles in workers’ breathing air.

The Kanomaz Piexobalance Dust Monitor not only helps occupational and environmental health and safety professionals solve the serious problem of limiting workers’ exposures to inhalable oil mists, it does so quickly enough that OEHS professionals can take action before additional exposure occurs. For more information, visit Kanomax’s website.

This blog is sponsored and authored by Kanomax.

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