If you work in a food factory and are gearing up to start packaging and unloading foods in bulk bags, you know that using a bulk bag unloader is going to save you a lot of time and trouble. But you will also potentially be saving your health if you get an unloader with a dust control feature. While you wouldn't think a bag of food could produce enough dust to harm you, each bag adds up, and that remnant dust can become a real hazard.

Lung and Nasal Irritation

One side effect of exposure to a lot of free-floating food dust is lung and nasal irritation. Simply put, the powder is irritating even though it seems very fine and soft when you touch it. Put enough of that dust in your nasal cavity and lungs, and over time, your body can rebel. You can develop an outright allergy to a particular food, or you can end up chronically coughing or wheezing every time you're exposed to the dust.

Occupational Asthma

Related to this is something called occupational asthma. It's asthma that is triggered by exposure to certain types of dust in food factories, bakeries (in fact, it's known as baker's lung or baker's asthma among bakers exposed to flour floating in the air in bakeries), and other food production facilities. The asthma symptoms don't necessarily occur outside the dusty areas, but they can flare up once you're inside those areas. Using an unloader with a dust control feature not only helps prevent the onset of occupational asthma, but it also helps prevent those who already have the condition from experiencing attacks due to aggravation from more dust. Note that sometimes even a little dust can set off an attack.

Trip and Slip Risks

When the dust flies out of a bulk bag, it has to land somewhere, and that somewhere is very often the floor of the facility. A little dust might not do much, but as it builds up, it can make the floor slippery, thus increasing your risk of slipping. Good clean-up protocols can prevent this to a certain extent, but if you're emptying a lot of bags one day, you could see enough buildup to cause a problem.

Dust control features are common on bulk bag unloaders, so you should be able to find a machine that works for your factory. Protect yourself and your co-workers by requiring that your company use that dust control feature. For more information, contact companies like HAF Equipment Inc.