The dangers of dust - are you wearing the correct RPE on site?

Low Dust Technology™ from Saint-Gobain Weber feat. Low Dust Man

Most of us probably associate staying safe on site with wearing a high-vis and hard hat. However, taking the proper precautions to ensure respiratory health isn’t compromised is vitally important for construction workers.

People working in construction are still 100 times more likely to die from a preventable occupational disease than from an accident.  Dust is a particular issue – the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) figures tell us that approximately 12,000 deaths in the industry each year are linked to exposure to dust and chemicals. 

Dust is a big problem for construction workers if it makes its way into the lungs. It’s produced by tasks including cutting, grinding, pouring, and mixing – all in a day’s work for tilers, plasterers and flooring contractors! For contractors and applicators who spend all day doing these jobs, it’s important to take the risks into account.

Over time, breathing large amounts of any dust can cause serious lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. There are also dusts which are more likely to be found on site – such as silica dust or wood dust – that can cause specific lung conditions. Silica is found in large amounts in most rocks, sand and clay, and in products such as granite and concrete. Much of this dust is fine enough to be inhaled deeply into the lungs. Exposure to this particular type of dust over many years can cause serious lung diseases including fibrosis, silicosis, and lung cancer.

What can you do to keep yourself and those around you safe on site?

1. Ventilation

Making sure you have adequate ventilation is an absolute must. If you’re working in a space with bad ventilation, use an M-Class dust extraction unit to minimise dust levels in the air.

2. Protection

When pouring/mixing dusty materials, always make sure your RPE (Respiratory Protection Equipment) is both adequate and suitable, this could be from a simple filtered facemask to a power-assisted respirator. It is also important that the RPE is fitted correctly; with the trend for facial hair increasing a regular fit test is vital.

You should also always wear appropriate eye protection, as dust particles can cause sight issues as well as respiratory ones.

3. Materials

Where possible, choose materials which will create less dust in the working environment. At Weber, we’ve added Low Dust Technology™ to some of our tile fixing products and our range of flooring systems. This significantly reduces airborne dust created during the preparation process.

Breathe easy

For more information about RPE and the dangers of dust the HSE have a Dust Hub with a free guide to download with everything you need to know.

At Weber, we care about people and the planet, that’s why we’ve developed our award-winning Low Dust Technology™. To find out which products are formulated with this technology click here.

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