Emergency Tips

RMC Safety Check: Dust isn’t just annoying – it’s dangerous!

Dust isn’t just annoying – it’s dangerous! Make sure you are informed and that you protect yourself and others around you.

Airborne dusts are of particular concern because they are associated with classical widespread occupational lung diseases, as well as with systemic intoxication such as lead poisoning, especially at higher levels of exposure. There is also increasing interest in other dust-related diseases, such as cancer, asthma, allergic alveolitis and irritation, as well as a whole range of non-respiratory illnesses, which may occur at much lower exposure levels. Dust that contains crystalline silica is also a huge issue for workers on construction sites. Crystalline silica respirable dust particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause disabling and sometimes fatal lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer, as well as kidney disease. It is never good to breathe in any excessive of amount of dust even if it is thought that no contaminants are present in the dust.

Be aware of other dust related hazards.

There are other hazards to take into consideration with a heavy dust zone. With dust particles floating in the air, it could lead to decreased visibility and even lead to potential eye injuries. Dust can also serve as a distraction from a work-task creating more risk for injury or property damage.

How can you avoid dust related illnesses and accidents?

It is not possible to completely get rid of dust, but being aware of how avoid dust related illnesses and injuries are extremely beneficial.

  • Eliminate the source of the dust whether that is through engineering controls or a change in work processes.
  • Use collection or vacuum systems on tools that create dust to collect it at the point of operation.
  • Use wet methods when cutting or breaking any concrete or similar materials.
  • Use water as a means of suppression for the dust on roadways or in work areas.
  • Have trucks and equipment keep speeds down if dusty conditions are present onsite.
  • Stay out of the areas where dust levels are high as well as avoiding being downwind from these areas.
  • Use proper respirators when engineering controls are not enough to protect you.

As always, please keep safety in the forefront!

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