How to Reduce Dust and Its Harmful Effects When Drilling Concrete
The Dangers of Construction Dust
The dust that concrete drilling and cutting propels into the worksite’s atmosphere can be highly dangerous to workers. Concrete, mortar and sandstone contain the harmful material silica. Inhaled in large amounts, silica has the potential to give construction workers a variety of illnesses, including:
– Lung cancer
– Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Any and all methods to avoid inhaling silica dust need to be adopted. The maximum amount of silica dust a construction worker can safely inhale per day (though that isn’t to say doing so is recommended) is equal to less than an eighth of the size of a penny. To ensure this, first you must try to reduce the amount of dust on the site.
Reducing Construction Dust
There are a number of ways that you can reduce the amount of concrete dust on your worksite. Firstly, you can reduce dust levels by only drilling or cutting the necessary amount of concrete. Overdoing it without good reason produces unnecessary levels of dust that leaves people more exposed than they had to be.
You could also analyse the situation to ascertain whether or not concrete drilling is required at all. If it is, consider using a less powerful tool in order to keep the dust under control.
The above methods will only go so far, and it is at this point that more comprehensive measures must be undertaken. Wetting the drilling area can stop the dust from going into the atmosphere, but simply wetting the material beforehand will not suffice.
A constant supply of water must keep the material wet during the cutting process to ensure all dust is dampened. When combined with on-tool extraction methods, such as on-tool exhaust ventilation systems which extract dust like a vacuum, you can significantly curb the levels of dust in the air.
Dust Protection Gear
While working to reduce dust levels on-site is indispensable, you must also ensure everyone has the proper protective gear, too. Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) such as face masks will be essential for protecting all those exposed to the dust.
This requires a face-fitting test to ensure the mask fits each user’s clean-shaven face perfectly and doesn’t allow for any leaks. RPE, however, is the last line of defence in the fight against dust, and should be treated as such. Other attempts to reduce dust levels must also be used. Moreover, only essential personnel should be around the drilling site to limit exposure.
Ultimately, the dangers of construction dust are not to be underestimated, and the safety precautions you need to undertake to protect against it not to be taken lightly. That’s why it’s best to leave it to the professionals, like Concrete Drilling Services.
Concrete Drilling Services Limited are the professional and quality contractors you can rely on for high quality, fully accredited procedures in drilling, cutting, and demolishing concrete. Our nationwide service based out of Manchester, Bolton, and Liverpool is second to none, our equipment state of the art. For more information regarding contracting us for your site, contact our friendly team today.