Construction Industry

On any construction or refurbishment project there will inevitably be fine airborne dust created by people, materials and processes that contains Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS)

Fine silica dust particles known as RCS are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye, and can remain suspended in the air for hours after being created. Wind and air movement can also spread this invisible hazard around a construction site, affecting not just the person who created the hazard but also those working around them and even people living and working nearby. These RCS particles are extremely hazardous and extensive or prolonged exposure to them is known to cause a debilitating lung disease called silicosis, as well as CPOD including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Within the construction industry the most significant respiratory risk after asbestos is presented by exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. The HSE is therefore currently planning a Construction Dust Project targeted at the refurbishment, repair and maintenance sector of the industry.

There are several measures that workers can take in order to protect themselves from dangerous RCS particles, as well as other dusts from materials such as hard woods. Machines can be connected directly to a portable high vacuum unit, which extracts and filters dusts and debris created when workers use power tools. These systems can connect to saws and planers through their exhaust ports, or to larger power tools such as pneumatic chisels by means of an aftermarket collar which connects to the active end of the tool for direct extraction at source.

A filtered workplace cleaning system can help ensure that residual dust is removed from the worksite, reducing the risk of workers kicking up dust into the breathing space of staff. These cleaning systems function like regular household vacuums, but filter smaller particles by means of a high efficiency HEPA filter, whilst collecting heavier dusts and debris into a metal bin, or heavy duty waste sack for safe disposal.

For ambient dusts present in the air of work sites, a heavy duty air purifier system provides the constant re-circulation and filtration of the air around workers. These systems also feature HEPA filters, further protecting workers from exposure to RCS or fine dusts known to irritate workers health.