As a deeper understanding of the hazardous properties of dust are better understood, businesses are taking measures to control and confine areas in the workplace where excess dust is prevalent. One of the biggest challenges facing large businesses that use heavy-duty machinery throughout building or large-scale construction projects is containing the spread of dust.
Using machinery in a building with more than 50 rooms, for instance, can present some significant potential health and safety issues, many of which are dust related. Silica dust, found in many common construction materials, presents the risk of silicosis, which is a serious lung disease caused through the inhalation of Respirable Crystalline Silica; dust particles invisible to the naked eye created through activities such as drilling, sanding, coring, and grinding.
It is therefore essential that efficient measures are put in place to ensure the protection of workforces, while adhering to the relevant regulations.
The sectioning off a specific room where a mixing and cutting station can be set up is one of the best techniques of keeping dust in one place on site and avoiding its spread. By ensuring all heavy-duty machinery practices are undertaken in a designated area, companies can effectively contain the release of airborne dust, creating the safest possible working environment for the people on site.
Even hygiene standards areJames Miller, General Manager Dustcontrol UK
throughout buildings that install
specific rooms for the use of
Having a specific room where workers can go to cut, grind or mix makes managing dust-filled conditions easier, and the combination of high-quality dust extraction solutions further utilises the controlled space.
By localising dust generating activities on site, businesses can practically remove dust as an issue by capturing it comprehensively at source. Using on tool extraction, dust is captured as it’s created by construction activities. Air cleaning equipment, where any residual dust is extracted from the local atmosphere also greatly reduces the risks presented by hazardous dusts.
In addition to worker safety in the immediate vicinity, vacuum, and air quality solutions also restrict dust migration, preventing its spread throughout the site, helping to ensure a clean, healthy working environment. While safely confining dust generating activities to one area controls the spread of harmful airborne particles, dust extraction capabilities allow workers within the segregated room to carry out their duties in the highest possible air quality levels for construction. As well as maximising dust prevention, a segregated area also means equipment is stored in one place, freeing up space elsewhere on the site and minimising other health and safety aspects posed by scattered equipment such as trip hazards. They can also be cost-effective when renovation works are carried out, as the room’s carefully controlled containment of dust can help keep facilities running as fully as possible.
Even hygiene standards are considerably improved throughout buildings that install specific rooms for the use of heavy-duty Machinery. Overall, implementing areas that are used solely for dust producing practices can effectively control and contain the spread of dust.
Construction projects and companies that frequently use large heavy-duty machinery have a smaller, more efficiently sized space to confine and extract harmful dust, creating a safer workplace and healthy workforce. And while these segregated areas can be cost-effective in limiting the space used for dust related activities, they ensure businesses have the power to efficiently manage the control of dust to meet health and safety regulations.
Dealing with dusty tools after hire and testing M & H Class extractors for re-hire
Many construction firms are now aware that they should be preventing the release of dust into the workplace, especially the particularly harmful respirable silica and they are increasingly using methods and equipment to deal with this.
The tools however, which are commonly hired, are returned after jobs and for repairs and need to be cleaned and serviced without creating a hazard back at the hire depot or repair centre. In the case of vacuums used as on-tool extractors, they are then also going to need to be put through the HSE TExT or Thorough Examination Test at least every 14 months or possibly more frequently, to ensure the next hire customer has a suitable machine.
At Dustcontrol, we believe just minimizing dust on the construction site isn’t enough and our background in centralised vacuum systems means we can help people maintaining dust contaminated equipment as well as those testing their industrial M & H Class dust extractors.
One popular method of cleaning dust from multiple tools is to use the DC Box, a purpose-built cabinet that helps combat and contain harmful dusts when cleaning returned tools and equipment. It can accommodate a wide range of equipment from handheld power tools to larger items such as mitre saws and filters.
Designed like a fume-cupboard, with a door on each side for easy cleaning of machines and tools, the DC Box comes equipped with an internal vacuum cleaning point (for connection to separate external vacuum), a large window for good visibility, internal lighting, a compressed air connection point, a sliding tray with a rotating mesh top for ease of use and a disposal sack attached to a hole in the base for heavy dust and debris.
The 360-degree rotatable trolley can be used to pull heavy machines in and out of the DC Box, with the three openings on the front side intended to be used by the operator for easy access to clean the equipment inside. Two of the holes are for the operator’s hands and one functions as an air inlet. Cleaning of the equipment is done with different suction tools, compressed air and brushes.
The DC AirCube 500, a powerful Hepa 13 filtered air cleaner, is integrated into the DC Box system, which means it constantly cleans the air inside the unit and creates a negative pressure so that dust can’t escape during the cleaning process.
At the vacuum connection point, the DC Box can be integrated with all
Dustcontrol pre-separators and vacuum cleaners and even be integrated to a centralised vacuum cleaning system with plug-in points located conveniently around the workshop.
Once cleaned and re-assembled, dust extractors used for being connected directly to power tools (as LEV equipment) may need the HSE TExT (Thorough Examination Test), before being sent back to the client or being re-hired. Part of this test will require that the dust extractor performs to certain standards and measuring equipment is required for this.
This test is discussed in HSE document CIS69 with further information available from the HSE and other organisations such as the HAE. Basically, the dust extractor needs to be competently checked over and performance tested at least once every 14 months to ensure it works as it should, then recording. To do the performance testing accurately, a pitot and digital anemometer can be used to establish airflow and alarm functionality.
Dustcontrol now supply a complete kit comprising a purpose-built tube with integral fixed pitot, easy to use slide shut off valve for the alarm test and a hose piece with connectors to fit to all Dustcontrol medium sized extractors and some other popular brands. It is also delivered with a simple airflow chart to determine pass or fail situations. A digital anemometer is required separately and can also be supplied or sourced independently. This kit will provide consistently accurate results directly in m3/hr thus avoiding the need for conversion tables.
For further information or to discuss how these items could be applied to your situation, please visit www.dustcontroluk.co.uk or call our office.