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Advice on tackling workplace dust

1 May 2024

Advice on tackling workplace dust

The issue of workplace dust and the equipment to tackle it was one of several topics discussed at the recent Action on Site Health Scotland 2024 event held in Dunblane and sponsored by RVT Group, a specialist hirer of products for managing site hazards.

Kevin Dupont, Technical Consultant Air Quality & Noise Control with RVT, said that all dust should be considered as being potentially dangerous, and pointed out that many particles were invisible to the naked eye.

Smaller particles can be breathed into the lungs and retained, potentially causing health problems like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asbestosis and some cancers. 12,000 lung disease deaths each year are estimated to be linked to pas dust exposure at work.

Sites have to comply with requirements of legislation such as the Health & Safety at Work Act and the COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) Regulations. An adequate strategy for maintaining protective equipment and other solutions was also necessary.

Kevin said that every site would differ and so solutions had to be determined on an individual basis.

Key elements could be summed up as the three Cs: capture, containment and control. Dust created should captured as close as possible to the source and contained by segregating the affected area in order to precent migration to surrounding spaces. Control measures could include negative pressure systems to contain dust.

Equipment available from RVT includes Dustex Raptor portable dust filtration units, DustMaster Pro dust extractors, and M- or H-class vacuums with collectors.

Free-standing air quality monitors can be provided, as well as dust exposure meters worn on the body.

Dust suppression equipment could also be used to dampen site materials, and Kevin said it was important to use appropriate systems. Using water from a hose pipe could create droplets that were too big to adequately cope with smaller particles and so products that produced a fine mist were more effective.

RVT can provide informative resources, videos, white papers and toolbox talks on tackling dust and other workplace hazards.

● Some of the other issues discussed at the conference will be the subject of future blog posts.


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