Mitigating the Risk of Dangerous Dust on the Building Site

In our earlier blog Dangerous Dust on the Building Site we looked at the different types of dust commonly found on construction sites.
It’s all very well and good knowing where the danger lies but you’ll also need to know how to counter that danger. In this blog we look at different steps you can take on your building sites to either lessen or eliminate dust thus minimising the danger it causes. There are two complimentary methodologies to follow when it comes to lessening the dangers of dust on the building site. You can try and minimise the amount of dust produced in the first place you can also use a couple of tools to remove dust from the air.

Minimising Dust Produced

  • Use the correct size of building material. This would mean less cutting and preparation which helps to cut down on the dust produced via cutting.
  • Utilise a less powerful tool if it can do the job too. For example a block splitter can make a great alternative to a cut-off saw in some circumstances and produces a lot less dust.
  • Use a different method altogether. For example, instead of drilling holes use a nail gun instead if you can.

Removing Dust from the Air

  • Water – Water can be used to damp down dust clouds. However, it can be tricky to use correctly. To be done correctly enough water needs to be provided for the entire time the work is being done. It would not be enough to wet an area of ground before cutting.
  • Vacuum Extraction – Specially designed apparatus can be fitted with industrial vacuum units, allowing them to suck dust away as it’s created and store it until emptied.

Even if you take every precaution listed above, some jobs are just very dusty. For this reason it’s a good idea for staff to have access to some form of respiratory protective equipment (RPE). This RPE generally takes the form of a mask and it’s advisable all staff working on site have access to a mask regardless of the other precautions you’re taking.