We’re all now well aware of the potential health hazards associated with concrete dust on the job site.
Airborne particles from mixing, cutting and grinding concrete contain crystalline silica, which poses a variety of threats. Taking the correct precautionary measures not only prevents serious health risks, it also keeps your workplace safe, clean and can help make it run more efficiently.
Short-term effects of exposure to silica dust range from eye, nose and throat irritation, through to coughing, respiratory issues and chest infections. Inhaling high levels over longer periods of time can be deadly, causing chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or silicosis, a severely disabling and often fatal lung disease.
There are several measures that can be taken to help control exposure to concrete particles; some are legal requirements, others are common sense practices, and then on top of this there are advanced technologies and products that are containing dust like never before.
Keeping your workplace clean, wearing protective clothing and always having a mask on while cutting concrete is essential. In some circumstances ventilation booths or even fans can be used to move dust particles away from workers and to safer areas.
There are also many dust collection systems that can capture all the fine fragments direct at the source while cutting. Whether independent industrial vacuums, or extraction units that connect more seamlessly with the saw, these methods are commonly used with grinders and sanders that often need a dry surface to work properly.
Of course with general concrete cutting, wet cutting is the most popular and effective way to significantly reduce the amount of concrete dust in the air. Many stationary saws are equipped with a water basin or can be attached to an accessory that sprays the correct amount of water on the surface while the saw is running. There are loads of great dust-busting products now available that not only suppress harmful particles, they can also be used for blade cooling and keep the rest of the site, including co-workers, safe and dust-free.