Big steps in a small company
Mansholt shows that also in smaller companies, it is possible to make big steps when it comes to the reduction on exposure to hazardous substances. This grower of seed potatoes reviewed the complete sorting line and improved the air quality in the hall.
Crops farm Mansholt, situated in Groningen in the north of The Netherlands, grows seed potatoes amongst others. A lot of dust is released, both outside in the field and inside in storage and transportation. The cabins of the tractors are dustproof, but when working in the hall, the employees are exposed to the dust.
While harvesting, the potatoes are damp. The soil that sticks to the potatoes as a result of that, form a protective layer. In winter, the seed potatoes are being sorted and prepared for delivery. The soil has dried up, which releases a lot of dust. Even if the dust consists of ground of plant origin, it is dangerous to the health in case of high exposure. This is especially the case for particulates, that, for a great part consist of quartz dust. A high concentration of quartz dust can cause, on the long term, chronical lung diseases and lung cancer.
In the hall, a forklift is being used. The emissions gather in the hall. Moreover, the ventilator of the motor blows the dust into the air.
- Investment in an electrical fork lift
Due to the electrical fork lift, no emissions are being released in the hall. The motor does not stir up that much dust. Also, the electrical fork lift makes less noise.
- Overpressure system in sorting room
Dust is being extracted from the room.
- Dust extraction
The sorting line has been completely covered. Dust extraction has been installed on 14 spots where potatoes fall and thus dust is easily released. This is connected to the central dust extraction system that is equipped with absolute filters.
- Vacuum sweeper
On a daily basis, this machine is used to make the floor dust free in an easy and quick way. This is now part of the daily cleaning routine.
Total investment: over €100.000
A serious investment, but machines are always expensive in this sector.
It is not possible to work completely dustfree, but the exposure has been reduced considerably.
Employees no longer cough when they get home in the evening. Numbers of sick leave are low. Due to the measures, use of personal protection, such as a mask, is no longer needed. Daily vacuum cleaning is important since new dust is being released. This is a point that will always require attention.
The employees appreciate that working conditions are being taken seriously and that measures are being taken to improve them. The dust is never completely gone, but the working climate has much improved. Visitors and customers also react in a positive way. They notice a very clean hall, even with people working in it.