FDS Ltd act on HSE information obtained recently from training courses our engineers attended along with the requirements of some main contractor’s requirement for face fitted masks as a part of their policy on the control of exposure to Silica & Construction Dust and on the latest advice from HSE.
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 (also known as respirable crystalline silica or RCS);
- 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.
Anyone who breathes in these dusts should know the damage they can do to the lungs and airways. The main dust-related diseases affecting construction workers are:
- lung cancer;
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
Some lung disease, like advanced silicosis or asthma, can come on quite quickly.
However, most of these diseases take a long time to develop. Dust can build up in the lungs and harm them gradually over time. The effects are often not immediately obvious. Unfortunately, by the time it is noticed the total damage done may already be serious and life changing. It may mean permanent disability and early death.
Construction workers have a high risk of developing these diseases because many common construction tasks can create high dust levels. Over 500 construction workers are believed to die from exposure to silica dust every year.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) cover activities which may expose workers to construction dust. There are three key things you need to do:
- Assess (the risks)
- Control (the risks)
- Review (the controls)
Controlling the Risk and Dust
All our engineers have been on training courses that deal with the issues of the control of exposure to silica & construction dust
Along with all the methods advised by the HSE FDS Ltd policy to issue all it engineers with half face fit mask and replaceable P3 filters which protects users to APF20 (the highest suitable mask and filter for the protection and control of exposure to Silica & Construction Dust), and has trained two members of staff in the fitting of RPE (respiratory protective equipment).
FDS Ltd has also just invested and issued new drills with dust extraction systems to further reduce the amount of silica & construction dust released into the environment.