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 Silica?
Worksafe QLD recently released a report on Silica and how important it is to manage exposure to it.
This is how they define 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.”
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.
The three steps detailed above are simple guidelines you can follow to maintain the safety of yourself and those who you work with.
For information on how Makinex can help you minimise exposure to Silica dust in your job, contact us or check out the dust suppression tool on our website.
Please ensure you consult with a medical professional to gain advice into your individual circumstances.