News release

Dust Collectors Reviewed for Safety

The province has shut down all dust-collector units in government buildings and school wood production labs while they are reviewed for safety.

The province conducted an independent review of dust-collector units in 15 schools as a precaution after discovering deficiencies in a new unit at Citadel High School in Halifax. The review found that all 15 units had deficiencies and needed to be updated.

"The chances of a dust-collector fire or explosion is very low, but there is still a potential for danger that must be addressed," said Harold Pothier, acting fire marshal. "We are reviewing and inspecting all units in government buildings and, based on the province's experience, we recommend that all Nova Scotians who use a dust-collection system review its installation and maintenance to make sure it meets building and fire codes and national wood shop standards."

The departments of Education and Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and the Office of the Fire Marshal have established a committee to deal with the situation.

"The health and safety of students and staff is our top priority," said Education Minister Marilyn More. "Although we are not aware of any accidents or injuries related to dust collectors in Nova Scotia schools, we are taking every precaution to ensure safety."

About 150 Nova Scotia schools use dust collectors in production technology and wood production labs. The reviews of school-based dust collectors are expected to be completed in eight to 10 weeks. Reviews of dust collectors in government-operated buildings are expected to be completed by the end of September.

Production Technology programs at schools will be modified, using power tools not connected to dust collection, scheduling wood-production units to later in the semester and/or using alternate methods of cleaning up dust.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The province has shut down all dust-collector units in government buildings and school wood-production labs until they are reviewed for safety.

The province conducted an independent review of dust- collector units in 15 schools as a precaution after discovering deficiencies in a new unit at Citadel High School in Halifax. The review found that all 15 had deficiencies and needed to be updated.

Acting Fire Marshal Harold Pothier is urging all Nova Scotians that use a dust-collection system to review its installation and maintenance to make sure it meets building and fire codes and national wood shop standards.

Education Minister Marilyn More says although the province is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to dust- collector units in Nova Scotia schools, it is taking every precaution to ensure safety.

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Media Contacts:

Glenn Friel
Department of Education 902-424-5432 Cell: 902-456-7416 E-mail:
Brian Taylor
Labour and Workforce Development 902-424-0281 E-mail:
Lindsay Lewis
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal 902-424-3289 E-mail: