A system for the collection of pollutants in an industrial environment must be designed to meet the demand. Therefore, it is important to determine the demand precisely. In the following expert interview with Sascha Mohe, product manager for air technology at DENIOS, you can find out which planning factors need to be taken into account.
Can you outline what coverage and safety features work tables and free-standing workstations provide? What needs do these products cover?
Anyone who has to deal with hazardous substances at work is exposed to an increased health risk. The Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates that hazards must always be eliminated or mitigated directly at the source.
Our work tables are used in industrial work areas where the employee is to be protected from harmful emissions during their work. They are also used for activities in the pharmaceutical environment, such as the decanting of powdered CMR substances.
At DENIOS, the protection of employees from hazardous substances at work stations is achieved by our air systems which we refer to as "containment systems".
STOP! Do you know this?
The so-called STOP principle applies when selecting occupational safety and health measures as part of the risk assessment:
T Technical measures
O Organisational measures
P Personal measures
These measures are listed in order of how they should be prioritised. A technical solution, such as a pollutant workplace, is preferable to personal measures such as the wearing of PPE.
What is important when choosing a suitable system?
The first step is a detailed needs analysis:
>What substances are being used?
> What is the actual protection goal?
> Is it just the extraction of odours to protect the surrounding premises or the sensitive noses of the employees?
> Is it about protecting the product from cross-contamination?
> Is it about the actual protection of the employee working with highly active substances?
Having a clear, common picture of the requirements is crucial to realising a solution that suits all sides.
Does DENIOS offer customised solutions?
Yes, this is very much the case: flexible responses to varied needs. At DENIOS, air handling systems are sold under the brand name "Vario-Flow". We want to show that we offer adaptable solutions to each customer's process; offering different air technologies and designs as required. For example, with horizontal displacement flow as a pure extraction device, a system with the proven ejector technology or also a cabin with laminar downflow technology. Vario-Flow also means the flexibility to create solutions for both robust industrial requirements and high-purity GMP work areas.
To what extent does the protective measure affect the employee's activity?
The focus is on the customer's process. We want to have as little influence as possible on this and use our solution more as a support. That's why we take a close look at what work is being done and how. For example, the largest possible intervention area is important for a certain process, but it doesn't particularly matter for another.
What needs to be considered when designing a work table or a free-workstation?
It is important that the client thinks about a few things in advance: How much space do I need for the actual process? Are media connections such as sockets, water, etc. needed? If it is a permanent workplace where the employee is to work as comfortably as possible, issues such as ergonomics, the position of the fixtures, lighting and also noise levels must be considered. Furthermore, it is important for the client to know that we sometimes work with considerable amounts of air. What do we do with the extracted air? Is it possible to filter it and return it cleanly or do we discharge the exhaust air into the open air in a safe place - and if so, where and how is this done? The topic of energy efficiency is certainly also relevant here.
Are there any legal regulations that have to be observed?
In principle, the customer, as an employer, is obliged to carry out a corresponding risk assessment for workplaces where employees handle hazardous substances. The project planning for the work table or free-standing workstation can be based on this. I therefore recommend that all internal and external stakeholders be brought together as early as possible in the planning process. Authorities and employers' liability insurance associations sometimes have different ideas to internal occupational safety experts.
The legal foundation can be found, among other things, in the safety data sheets and the technical rules for handling hazardous substances (TRGS). The TRGS 400 "Risk assessment for activities involving hazardous substances" is authoritative here. For example, TRGS 410 provides good guidance on handling carcinogenic hazardous substances, while TRGS 504 provides good guidance on activities involving A- or E-dust. Employers to be clear about which substances are being worked within their company and state, for example, the maximum permissible workplace limit value (TRGS 900) or the OELs / OEBs. In the pharmaceutical sector, the topic of GMP or FDA conformity is, of course, unavoidable when planning a plant; here in particular, the relevant supervisory authorities must be involved in the project at an early stage.
Is explosion protection (Ex-protection) of particular relevance?
The decisive question in assessing the explosion risk is: Can a system that operates with several hundred air changes per hour lead to the formation of an explosive atmosphere? Customers argue quite differently here and also apply different assessment principles, such as when considering the quantity of hazardous substance used. For example, for fume cupboards at workplaces in laboratories, explosion protection is often not an issue because of the usual quantities used in the laboratory. In principle, we can equip all our systems with explosion protection accordingly. The operator's explosion protection document forms the basis for the appropriate design.
How do I find the right products for my business?
Our solutions are usually based on a composition of modular components. It is rare for us to sell a certain product, for example a worktable, in the same design for two different companies. Therefore, we consider close cooperation with the customer from the very beginning and consistent consultation to be extremely important in order to satisfy the customer in the best possible way. We also offer standardised systems for laboratory-related applications.
How integrated and networked are the solutions at DENIOS?
We have been using monitoring instruments, such as air extraction or supply air monitoring, very frequently for some time. In recent years, requirements for monitoring error messages, user behaviour, maintenance, etc. have been increasingly popular additions in our networked monitoring systems. DENIOS has developed a cloud-based solution (DENIOS connect) to support customers in the proper and efficient operation of technical room systems and containment solutions. DENIOS connect bundles inspection, maintenance and documentation obligations into one user-friendly application. The recommended annual maintenance is displayed on the product and can meanwhile be conveniently ordered directly via the application. We offer the customer a holistic solution concept that includes reliable operation.
How can I request technical advice?
You have a number of options. Firstly, the DENIOS website www.denios.co.uk provides a good overview of our wide range of products. You can send an enquiry to the DENIOS team via our online form or email or get initial advice by telephone.
Our highly qualified team, working in the field, are available for on-site consultation. They conduct a needs assessment in a face-to-face meeting and, if possible, directly at the planned place of use. This ensures a smooth process and an offer that is tailored to the your needs.
Contact us using the details below or click on the contact form and fill in for us to get in touch with you.
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What should be considered when planning a pollutant collection system?
Sascha Mohe is a DENIOS product manager in the field of air and cleaning technology and has been involved in a number of air cleaning projects. In our expert interview, he reveals how you can combine precise protection against harmful emissions with efficient work processes.
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