Most civil engineering firms in Denbigh and far beyond struggle with the inevitable presence of dust within their construction duties. ‘Construction dusts’ of course are a catch all phrase for varying types of dusts which are commonly generated on a site. While indeed they can be considered a cause of nuisance, they are mostly harmful to the health of a site’s workers and to the general public.
While it’s only certain types of dust (asbestos being the most well known) which can cause harm with very little exposure, most dusts from cutting paving blocks, kerbs and flags, chasing concrete and raking mortar, dry sweeping site areas, cutting roofing tiles, cutting and sanding wood, and sanding taped and covered plasterboard joints can be a very real concern for construction workers, as their activities on sites mean that they are at particularly high risk of developing long-term health complications.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to prevent or control your worker’s exposure to construction dust, and risk assessments are expected and controls are developed for review.
Some common forms of construction dusts encountered upon construction sites are silica dust – usually found in materials such as concrete, mortar, and sandstone. Wood dust is created when working with all types of wood, as well as MDF and plywood.
Some lower toxicity dusts (which are no less unpleasant, even if less toxic) are found when work is started on materials such as plasterboard, limestone, dolomite and marbles. Please keep in mind that even non-toxic types of dust still builds within the lungs and with enough exposure, leads to permanent damage and disease such as – Lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma – so the risks simply cannot be understated.
It is vital that your workers are made aware of the risks from dust and how it can harm them. It is mandatory to have your workers fully-trained in this and informed how to use dust control measures that have been put in place, how to maintain their equipment – especially respiratory protective equipment.
Remember, as an employer, you are lliable, so make sure everything's to scratch and preventative measures are in place!