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How to prevent the dangers of nickel dust in the workplace

04/26/24 2 min reading time Metal fabricationHealth

Dust may seem like a small problem, but exposure to dust in the workplace is a serious issue. Without the right solution, you're putting your employees' health and your business reputation at risk. Dangerous dust comes in different sizes and compositions, and some particles, like nickel dust, are so small they are nearly invisible. This article will explain the dangers of nickel dust and show you what measures you can take to protect your staff.

dont let nickel dust affect your employees health

Nickel dust: Danger in the workplace

Nickel dust, a potentially toxic particulate, is found in businesses throughout the metalworking industry. It poses the most serious risk to workers in facilities that use nickel or produce nickel compounds during mining, smelting, welding, casting, and grinding processes. If nickel dust is left to accumulate, it can lead to serious health problems for anyone breathing it in.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) lists a number of ways people can come into exposure with nickel, including in their workplace. Businesses often use nickel to make stainless steel, or combine it with metals like copper and iron to form alloys for jewelry, coins, or medical devices. These processes create fine nickel particles that then attach to even smaller dust particles circling in the air. In some cases, nickel particles can linger in the air for over a month before they settle. 

The longer you allow nickel dust to remain in the air, the bigger the risk to your employees and your business. Here are some of the health hazards caused by nickel exposure, according to the ATSDR. 

Nickel dust exposure: The health effects

For some, simply touching nickel can lead to an allergic reaction characterized by an itchy rash. Drinking water, eating food, and yes, breathing air that contains nickel can also lead to serious allergic reactions. Workers exposed to high levels of nickel over long periods of times can develop serious respiratory issues, including asthma. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services classified nickel compounds as carcinogenic, meaning they could cause cancer.


How to reduce nickel dust risks

  • Ensure all fume and dust control mechanisms are in good working order
  • Fit test all your tight-fitting respirators
  • Regularly test nickel exposure levels
  • Provide health checks for staff
  • Educate employees on the risks of nickel exposure
  • Provide staff with the correct forms of PPO

How Zehnder can solve your nickel dust problems

The above measures can help you mitigate nickel dust in the workplace, but there's no solution better than an industrial air cleaner that captures nickel dust at the source. With Zehnder Clean Air Solutions, you'll rest easy knowing all dangerous dust is pulled from the air before anyone can breathe it in. Learn more about how Zender Clean Air Solutions can help take care of nickel dust at your workplace by contacting our team today.

Nickel dust is a threat to your business
Make sure your staff can take a deep breath without hesitation!
Get advice now