Dust is found in many places on a jobsite and can be hazardous to your health. This hazard varies depending on the type of dust, the amount of dust inhaled, the size of particulate, and how well your lungs are able to remove the dust. Inhaling dust over many years can cause
- Fibrosis (hardening of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe)
- Cancer of the lungs, abdomen, and nose. Even inhaling dusts over a couple of days or months can cause effects on the nervous system allergic reactions such as hay fever or more serious reactions such as asthma.
Examples of jobs that create dust include
- cutting concrete, wood, or other materials
- scoring/cutting tile
- mixing mortar
- pouring dry cement
- knocking or bumping into dusty materials
- loading, unloading, or transporting dusty materials.
Prevent dusts from getting into the air by
- spraying water on the workpiece before cutting, pouring material, etc.
- spraying water on the ground before sweeping.
- If wet-sweeping is not possible, use a vacuum.
- using a dust collector for tools or equipment if available.
Consider different ways of doing the job that could reduce the amount of dust created. For instance, you could
- use low-speed rather than high-speed grinders
- order blocks in various sizes to minimize the need for cutting
- use pre-mixed cement or mortar
- shorten the distance that material is dropped or tossed when pouring or shoveling dusty materials
- stand opposite to the direction of the dust cloud.
Prevent dust accumulation by cleaning the work area frequently throughout the shift. Wash your hands before eating, drinking, or smoking and at the end of your shift.
Use personal protective equipment when it is not possible to prevent dust from getting into the air. Consult the safety data sheet (SDS) of the product.