Dust Hazard Prevention


   Cairo, Égypte

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How can we control the exposure to wood and paper dust to improve health and safety conditions for blue-collar workers in different industries?

Want to improve the work conditions for thousands of blue collars in Egypt? And contribute to decrease the exposure to hazardous particles that expose them to huge health risks? Are you passionate about designing with a drive to create social change in the Egyptian community? Then let’s make a difference!

There are serious challenges that blue-collar workers encounter on a daily basis when it comes to providing standard work conditions and maintaining safety in the workplace where blue collars are usually susceptible to accidents and health risks.

We are looking for innovative solutions from mechanical designers, mechanical engineers, and health and safety engineers amongst others to implement a creative and cost-efficient solution that focuses on controlling the hazard exposure to fine particles and prevent future health risks for blue collars. If you’d like to partner with us, please read on for more details!


In collaboration with GIZ, we are aiming to create more efficient solutions for improving working conditions for blue collars and provide safety in the workplace, especially in the industrial sector.

Fine particles produced during wood, paper, and cardboard manufacturing are one of the most common occupational exposures, with millions of workers exposed to these hazardous particles on a daily basis. This dust becomes a potential health problem when inhalable particles from different processes, like sanding, cutting, drilling, chipping, sawing, and turning to shape wood and paper become airborne. These particles might cause allergic and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, and skin and/or eye irritation in addition to the possibility of inducing varying cancers when deposited in the mucosa of nasal and paranasal sinuses, pharynx, and airways.

Lung cancer is one of the most common of cancers (5.0%-7.0%of all cancers) in Egypt, and occupational exposure is one of its main causes, as 47.2%of diagnosed patients are workers in construction and production.

There are three aspects that have a major contribution to dust inhalation:

  1. Some factories stop using the add-on vacuum pumps that are used to absorb these dust particles produced to save high electricity consumption.

  2. The behavior of workers toward safety precautions such as masks and covers as most of them don’t follow safety regulations.

  3. Lack of the effectiveness of current solutions such as masks in preventing the workers’ inhalation of fine particles as these solutions are designed mainly for preventing the inhalation of large particles.

The cost of the problem

In 1995, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified wood dust as carcinogenic to humans, mainly based on findings for cancers of the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses. In industrialized countries, half the number of mortalities is by lung cancer caused by occupational exposures. Moreover, occupational health and safety has an impact on economic growth by affecting the labor supply, in particular through the number of working days lost because of illness, accidents, or reduced productivity of employees at work. Nevertheless, the Health Insurance Organization (HIO) in Egypt recently reported that disabilities due to occupational diseases account for 38% of total disability claims presented to the organization in 2002.

The Challenge

In view of the worldwide magnitude of occupational exposure to dust and the acute need for increased preventive action, an innovative solution for "Dust Hazard Prevention" is highly in demand to improve workplace health and safety conditions.

“KEFAC Hydraulic & Pneumatic” encounters different problems with built-in vacuum machines due to its inaccuracy, poor efficiency, and high energy consumption. The amount of dust currently produced during wood and paper processing is significant, thus the proposed and final solution should clearly demonstrate the following criteria:

  • Emissions drawn into the system must be disposed of safely and without adverse effects on the environment.

  • The dust control system should not interfere with employee’s work or disrupt productivity.

  • The solution should be cost efficient in terms of energy consumption, cost of acquisition and maintenance needed.

  • Preferably protects multiple at-risk workers. (e.g. local exhaust ventilation (LEV) will protect everyone in the workplace but respiratory protective equipment (RPE) only protects the person wearing it)

  • Abides to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Egyptian Environmental Law No. 4 for permissible exposure limit (PEL) for hardwoods and softwoods at 5.0 mg/m3 total dust.

  • Integrates behavioral aspect of workers (e.g. integrating incentives and limit cost of behavioral change and any interference with the workflow )

  • Scalable (not fitting only one specific machine/process/industry)

  • Ease of use and maintenance

How to participate?

1. Submit a complete application form by the deadline of June 9th 11:59 pm EST. This application should clearly demonstrate how the outlined criteria will be met. Please also include any relevant supporting media (designs, videos,....etc).

2. Three shortlisted candidates will be chosen based on the innovativeness of their solutions and will be invited to visit the factory to be able to better develop and finalize their solution within 2 weeks.

3. The three shortlisted candidates will present their solutions to a committee consisting of GIZ members, Yomken.com and an industry expert in a pitch competition.

4. The winner will be chosen based on the innovativeness of their solutions.

5. The winner will sign a contract with Yomken.com to implement their solution in full effect. The innovator(s) will be responsible for designing and creating a prototype and commit to providing technical assistance to deal with any problems that may occur within the first year after delivery of the solution.


The winning solution will receive:

- A reward of 45,000 EGP (Incl. taxes) provided by GIZ/LMAP to implement the solution with their collaboration. The reward will be given in installments, in accordance with milestones set by the innovator(s) according to their plan of action. Winners will also receive:

- Recognition and support from the LMAP/GIZ across their networks.

- The possibility of future collaboration with the GIZ.

- Acknowledgment of the winner amongst GIZ partners.

As per our platform Terms and conditions and in case the intellectual property rights are not registered, the innovator should not disclose any sensitive unprotected information. Meanwhile, they should include all technical details required to judge the technical validity and feasibility of the solution. The Intellectual Property of the well-developed app will be to the government and GIZ.

You can submit a solution at any time. Before doing so, we strongly recommend you to read the rules and FAQs.

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