Construction dust, whether in the form of silica, non-silica, or wood dust, poses a clear threat to the health of workers, especially those who are constantly exposed to it. Thankfully, there are dust control measures that can be observed to protect the workers. One of them, dust collection.
Dust collection is the process of eliminating harmful dust in the airflow, effectively protecting workers from its ill-effects. Whether generated by diamond blade or any other tool, dust particles can have both short term and long term effects on people, from simple eye irritation to fatal lung diseases.
A well-designed dust collection system should conform to local safety codes and should follow the tried and tested formula of Capture, Convey and Collect.
Capture – With the use of capture hoods, dust is captured right from the source. Dust is pulled out of it and away from the operator.
Convey – To preserve a consistent, minimum velocity, duct is accurately sized. A wrongly sized duct will permit the settlement of dust, therefore creating unfavorable conditions.
Collect – Collection is done using the proper dust separator. For disposal purposes, it must be properly released from the separator.
A dust collection system may not completely prevent dust emissions since it is not capable of controlling dust from secondary sources. But it’s the best we got and has other benefits as well: reduces maintenance costs, averts unpleasant odors, minimizes the risk of dust explosion, and increases visibility in the work site, among others.
In a future article we will dig deeper into the types of construction dust, the hazards they bring to workers, and what workers can do to protect themselves against exposure to construction dust, especially silica, which is the most dangerous of them all. All these, in line with Gila Tools’ advocacy of maintaining safety in every work place.