Exposure to coffee dust has been associated with respiratory symptoms, including asthma and changes in lung function. The Institute of Health and Welfare identify coffee dust as a causal agent of occupational Asthma.
Coffee bean dust also meets the criteria as a respiratory sensitizer that would be considered a Hazardous Substance as outlined within the Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances. This requires everyone involved in handling a dangerous substance to take all reasonable steps to minimise the risks resulting from handling the substance in line with state and commonwealth Workplace Health & Safety Regulations.
Endotoxin exposure associated with organic dust exposure has been studied in several industries. Coffee cherries that are dried directly after harvest may differ in dust and endotoxin emissions to those that are peeled and washed before drying.
Significant exposures tend to be from tipping the hessian bags of coffee beans into the hoppers and roasting. However the greatest exposures tend to be from cleaning. Cleaning activities which include using compressed air and sweeping should be eliminated.
Coffee Dust is Combustible and is an Explosion Hazard:
When most people think of controlling dust in the workplace, they think of taking steps to avoid inhaling dusts to prevent health problems. However, the accumulation of combustible dusts in the workplace can lead to far greater consequences. As seen in recent years, neglect of housekeeping and improper handling of combustible dusts can lead to property damage, injuries and loss of life.
Various production and handling facilities are facilities that may receive, handle, store, process and ship bulk raw agricultural commodities such as coffee. These handling facilities include elevators, production equipment, dust pelletizing plants, and facilities with dry grinding operations.
The agriculture handling industry is a high hazard industry where workers can be exposed to numerous serious and life threatening hazards. These hazards include: fires and explosions from dust accumulation.
In general, combustible particulates having an effective diameter of 420 μm or smaller, as determined by passing through a U.S. No. 40 Standard Sieve, are generally considered to be combustible dusts. However, agglomerates of combustible materials that have lengths that are large compared to their diameter (and will not usually pass through a 420 μm sieve) can still pose a deflagration hazard. Therefore, any particle that has a surface area to volume ratio greater than that of a 420 μm diameter sphere should also be considered a combustible dust.
The vast majority of natural and synthetic organic materials, as well as some metals, can form combustible dust. The NFPA’s Industrial Fire Hazards Handbook states, “any industrial process that reduces a combustible material and some normally non-combustible materials to a finely divided state presents a potential for a serious fire or explosion.”
Suggested Industrial Vacuums for Recovery of Toxic & Combustible Dust
PrestiVac HEPAPlus* Vacuums are specifically designed to safely vacuum toxic dusts. Equipped with a Certified Absolute HEPAPlus*filter with an efficiency of 99.995% on 0.2 micron so there is no risk of exposure or contamination for the operator or the environment. These vacuums are tested for absolute filtration. Testing Method: IEST RP-CC034.3. H14. MIL-STD 282 / A.S.T.M. - D2986-91. MPPS method EN 1822.
PrestiVac Explosion Proof/Dust Ignition Protected Vacuums are designed to safely vacuum explosive, flammable, combustible conductive* dusts. Our Explosion Proof/Dust Ignition Protected Vacuums are completely grounded and static dissipating because they are built entirely with non-sparking metals and do not have any painted components so there is no risk of fire or explosion from a spark or static build up. All the electrical components, including the motor and starter are totally enclosed so there is no source of ignition. Our explosion proof vacuum cleaners comply with NFPA 484 guidelines and are an effective tool for good housekeeping practise as per OSHA.
Which Industries are at Risk with Coffee Dust?