Eight steps to reduce dust in the workplace
Dust is an unnecessary evil for most worksites. Once in the air, it creates an unhealthy work environment and can reduce worksite productivity and safety.
Basic construction processes such as cutting, drilling, grinding and breaking are the main causes of dust. Cutting concrete, for example, can produce up to 15 kilograms of dust in one hour.
Although many workers use dust protection measures, such as wearing safety glasses and filtration masks, they seem to only offer limited protection and workers can end up with itchy eyes, asthma and dry coughs.
Severe, ongoing illnesses such as respiratory conditions and lung disease can occur if workers are inhaling dust containing toxic particles.
With no Australian standards in place for worksite dust management, Hilti, a provider of products, system solutions and services to the construction, mining and energy industries, has released its top eight tips on how to reduce worksite dust:
- See if the task can be carried out in a way that doesn’t generate dust.
- If you can’t avoid creating dust, apply adequate dust control measures such as: using dust removal tools and vacuums; spraying cutting surfaces down with water; or using direct fastening systems such as a powder-actuated fastening tool.
- Use tools that are matched to the material you are working on.
- Replace or resharpen the cutting tool if performance drops.
- Ensure adequate ventilation of the workplace.
- Wear personal protection equipment including safety glasses, gloves, earmuffs and respiratory masks.
- Clean the workplace at regular intervals.
- Avoid kicking up dust.
Hilti has dust-reducing power tools that are designed to comply with international dust exposure guidelines.
Using a vacuum dust removal system to siphon off waste particles at the source, the tools are said to eliminate up to 99% of all dust. By minimising the volume of dust released into the atmosphere, this ensures worker health and safety and a clean site to ensure project efficiency.
Other benefits of removing dust in the workplace include more comfort and better protection for workers, less working time spent cleaning up the worksite, increased lifetime of power tools, lower repairs and maintenance costs, and increased safety and productivity.
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