We had an inspection from the local fire chief last week. We started a woodworking shop where we make small crafts out of rough-hewn logs and lumber. They are rustic pieces that give your living spaces that farm look. I started in my garage. Then we rented a steel building that used to be a motorcycle shop. I brought all of my tools and added more. We did not do much to outfit the building other than leaving the doors open in the summer when we work. We failed our inspection. The fire chief said we needed commercial dust extraction equipment where we were doing the sawing, routing and shaping of our crafts, and we needed better ventilation in our painting area.
He showed me the huge amount of sawdust that was building up on flat surfaces over our heads. The roof support structures were laden with it. There was a lot of dust in the air too. He took me back to the fire department and had his fire safety educator show me what happens when dust ignites. The guy took a little bit of dry sawdust and blew it into a flame. It made a fireball! He explained how dust in the air can ignite under the right circumstances and that the explosion can then make the other laden dust airborne and it explodes too.
So, our building was pretty much a bomb waiting to go off. We cleaned for the next three days to remove all of the dust we could. I got online looking for dust extraction units that would be affordable for our business. We added a large vent through the wall for the painting area. We could not afford anything super extravagant to remove the dust. We needed something that would do the job yet be affordable to us. We were not making a fortune doing crafts out of wood, but we were supporting ourselves and four employees with a living wage. We were able to get a loan for our dust extraction equipment that was very affordable. I like the peace of mind of keeping us and our lungs safer.