Construction Safety Week 2017 – Occupational Health – Dust

25 Oct 2017

Hi Folks, It’s day three of Construction Safety week

So far companies all around Ireland (and on Irish sites in other countries in some cases!) have been promoting safety.

All of the companies who have signed up and told us their initiatives will feature in our social media.

You can see all these activities here and if you want to get involved it’s not too late.

We’ve also generated a lot of media coverage as momentum is building around Construction Safety Week.

Thanks again to all of you, our members, who are generating this great coverage around safety. Today’s theme is occupational health awareness with a particular focus on ‘Dust’ but specifically Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).

You can join our free webinar at 11.00am.

Occupational exposure to crystalline silica dust occurs in many industries particularly construction. Basically, where concrete, stone or sand based materials are cut or ground, there is a potential for exposure to RCS.

Inhalation is the primary route of exposure to crystalline silica dust. Inhalation of fine dust containing crystalline silica can cause lung damage (silicosis), which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. Silicosis is irreversible and treatment options are limited.

Recommended Control Measures

  • Seek to substitute the silica containing material with a suitable alternative if possible
  • Use safe systems of work such as wet methods for dust removal/suppression
  • Engineering controls such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) or containment measures should be used where appropriate
  • Wear suitable PPE such as coveralls and appropriate gloves
  • Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) should either be a FFP3 disposable respirator or a P3 particulate filter fitted to a half or full-face mask to provide effective protection and be CE marked. All RPE should fit the employee correctly
  • Any RPE worn should be properly fit tested
  • Be careful when the job is done and cleaning up – do not use a broom to sweep up the dust – use a high efficiency filter vacuum

Key Points

  • Always assume that exposure is likely to occur and protect according to the level of risk identified from risk assessment.
  • Prepare written risk assessments (required by law) highlighting the key hazards, risks and controls in place. Use safe systems of work to reduce exposure based on the risk assessment.
  • Use dust suppression techniques during work.
  • Use a vacuum to clean up – brushing creates dust.
  • Use and store personal protective equipment according to instructions to reduce exposure.

Click here to download this poster and Safety Week logo.

For more information, see the links to external resources below:

HSA – Crystalline Silica Dust Information
HSE – Construction Dust Information
EU – Guidance for National Labour Inspectors on addressing risks from worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) on construction sites


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