Construction dust is not just a nuisance; it can seriously damage your health and some types can eventually even kill. Regularly breathing these dusts over a long time can therefore cause life-changing lung diseases.
Construction dust is a general term used to describe different dusts that you may find on a construction site.
There are three main types:
Silica Dust – Created when working on silica containing materials like concrete, mortar and sandstone.
Wood Dust – Created when working on softwood, hardwood and wood—based products, like MDF and plywood.
Lower Toxicity Dusts – Created when working on materials containing very little or no silica. The most common include gypsum (eg. In plasterboard), limestone, marble and dolomite.
How to control construction dust:
Water – Water damps down dust clouds. However, it needs to be used correctly. This means enough water for the whole time that the work is being done. Just wetting an area of ground before cutting does not work.
Vacuum Extraction – Specially designed tools can be fitted with an industrial vacuum unit that sucks the dust away as it is being created and stores it until emptied.
Dust Extractors/ Air Cubes – These are placed in the working area to help filter the dust in the air.
Dust Masks – Water or on-tool extraction may not always be appropriate or they might not reduce exposure enough. Often respiratory protection (RPE) has to be provided as well. You will need to make sure that the RPE is adequate for the amount and type of dust, suitable for the task, compatible with other items of protective equipment, fits the user (face fit testing is needed for tight-fitting masks) and worn correctly.
Anyone who breathes in those dusts should know the damage they can do to the lungs and airways.
- Lung cancer
- Chronis Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Different Types of Mask: