Dust Safety Awareness – and solutions!

Construction dust isn’t just a nuisance – regularly breathing it in over a long time can cause life-changing lung diseases, and in some cases can lead to death! There are many Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reports surrounding the subject – one such report showed that there are 12,000 lung disease deaths each year that are linked to past exposures at work, and 1.8 million workers currently suffer from work-related ill health.

The main dust-related diseases affecting stone fabrication workers are lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma – you can find out more about these diseases here. Dust can build up in the lungs and harm them gradually over time – the effects aren’t immediately obvious. By the time they’re noticed, the total damage done may already be serious and life changing! One such example is the story of Kevin and Tony, from County Durham, who are now seriously ill after exposure to silica dust.

HSE guidance in relation to dust safety comes under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations. This covers assessing the risks, controlling the risks and reviewing the controls. There’s many ways you can control the risks – here are just a few!
Trolex
Dust and Silica Monitoring

Monitoring the levels of dust in your workplace is vital to ensure they stay at a safe level. At Stonegate, we have partnered with Trolex, award winning leaders of safety monitoring systems, to provide options that will help your dust and silica safety management. Choose from the XD1+ – a small and lightweight personal dust monitor, or the Air XS – the only product globally that can detect and distinguish respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in real time. Find out more here.

PPE

We’ve worked alongside HSE to ensure there are sufficient and relevant PPE products to keep all stone workers safe. Items such as the Optrel Swiss Air system are great – it doesn’t require a face fit test and is also suitable for use with facial hair. Delivering a constant flow of pure, clean air, it guarantees protection of the lungs and respiratory tract when fabricating stone.

Optrel Swiss Air
Alpha Tools
Working Wet

Ensuring plenty of water is used throughout all stone-working processes including polishing and cutting is vital in controlling silica dust intake. The water traps silica dust particles, making the process much safer. Try out our range of Alpha tools for top-of-the-range power tools, including the PSP-114 and the PSC-600 – all supplied with all-weather, extra long hoses. And yes – working with water can be, well, wet – ensure you’ve got a pair of waterproofs to keep you warm and dry!

Dust & Water Walls

Another option is to look at dust and water suction walls. Here at Stonegate, we’ve partnered with Dal Prete to bring you the IWater suction wall, which offers air filtration efficiency of 98.3%! Or, check out the Ghines Dust Suction Wall or Dust Extraction Benches for a water-free solution.

IWater Dal Prete

The safety of you and your employees really is paramount to us. If you’re keen to reduce dust levels in your factory but aren’t sure where to start, why not contact us to talk through it – or pay a visit to our Innovation Hub, where we can go through the options you have and offer advice on what will work best for you! Book a visit here, or just give us a call on 01482 620 400.