What is Silica?
Silica is present in the aggregate added to concrete, in asphalt, bricks, concrete, concrete and terracotta tiles and pavers, in sandstone and in granite. Small amounts are present in cement. Silica can be released if using power tools to cut fibre cement sheeting. During the cutting, grinding or drilling process, the mineral is broken into fine dust which is referred to as silica dust.
Why suppressing concrete dust is important
Would I be right in assuming that many concrete cutters and core drillers reading this would feel dust is simply part of the game when doing your job?
If it is, I’m sure you’re not alone.
Yet for me, it’s the potential life-threatening implications of concrete dust (Silica) that would make it a top priority for me to change this way of thinking
What is the risk?
As the total dose of Silica increases, so does the risk for developing silicosis, lung cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Some workers become ill after many years of low exposure levels, while other workers who perform less frequent but high exposure tasks can become ill with a lower cumulative exposure. Why? Because a high exposure to silica dust overwhelms the lungs’ defenses and most of the dust settles deep into the lungs which is where it does the most damage.
How can I reduce my exposure to Silica?
If you’re exposed to concrete dust as a concrete cutter or core driller, then there are some simple steps you can take to minimise your ongoing exposure to Silica dust.
- Contain – keep the dust contained to the area where you’re working
- Ventilation – when the dust can’t be contained within a certain work space, then provide some form of ventilation system that will prevent it spreading and contaminating other parts of the workplace
- Suppression – use water to suppress the spread of the dust. Cut stone with water, also known as wet cutting.Wet dust can’t escape into the air.
Regulations across NSW,VIC & QLD.
- NSW- Announced new plans to reduce cases of the disease. Under the plan, NSW workers will be better protected by the introduction of on the spot fines for those who engage in unsafe dry-cutting practices. Read more here.
- VIC- Silica exposure standard halved. Government urging employers to take precautionary measures and only expose their workers to levels below 0.02 mg/m3 . Read more here.
- QLD- The workplace exposure standard (WES) for RCS is 0.1 mg/m3 8 hour Time-Weighted Average. Read more here
The Makinex H2G are ideal for wet cutting. This portable, constant-pressure water supply system delivers 13.8L of portable pressurized water at 7-10psi for dust suppression and cutting-tool cooling, exactly where you need it without pumps or electronics
Hose2Go and Covid-19
Our Portable constant pressure water system is great for sites without water access. During these uncertain times, it makes sure you comply with the hygiene standards set by the relevant state authority.