Silica dust

Foresight: Facing up to dust

With silica dust acknowledged as a severe wellness risk to development staff, Hilti is performing with employ organization Travis Perkins to address the challenges on internet site. Andrew Gaved reports



Let’s start off with the stark details. Dust – specifically silica dust – is perilous to the development employee if not controlled and shielded against.

And provided that silica dust is present in almost everything from brick to concrete to tiles to mortar, it is almost everywhere on the design internet site.

The Well being and Protection Govt guidance on the subject is pretty stark too (see: ycxpnkun).“Silica is the most significant possibility to building staff following asbestos,” it suggests in its introduction.

The direction sets out how a lot of duties will generate silica dust – and then goes on to checklist almost each individual development job: breaking, chopping, drilling, grinding and sprucing.

It then sets out what the fine dust, recognised as respirable crystalline silica (RCS), will do to workers’ lungs.

It tends to make for really grim reading, mainly because this dust is too fantastic to see with standard lights and nevertheless it can enjoy havoc with the lungs when inhaled.

“Heavy and prolonged publicity to RCS can cause lung most cancers and other major respiratory illnesses,” the assistance says. HSE estimates it has been dependable for the demise of about 500 development workers every single solitary calendar year.

The critical illnesses that the dust can lead to from prolonged exposure vary from COPD, producing coughing and breathlessness, through to silicosis, a permanent scarring of the lungs, and to lung cancer.

And, the HSE notes, the quantities necessary to result in this problems are not big. Most likely the element of the advice most assured to shock is the photo of a little sum of dust, dwarfed by a penny, which is the complete most that staff ought to likely be inhaling throughout a day.

In the context of the somewhat terrifying message, you’d think that the field would now be carrying out all the things it can to command dust exposure.

Feel once again. It is true that the industry has vastly enhanced its knowing of the risks to staff on internet site – we all don’t forget the days when any kerb currently being reduce or wall remaining chased was linked with big clouds of dust belching out, and the worker wielding the drill or combihammer not even carrying a mask – but those providing the instruments are concerned that there is nonetheless a fundamental deficiency of interest to managing the dust exposure.

Preventative measures

“Our message is that, alternatively than just contemplating that the difficulty can be solved by donning a mask, which is the last line of defence in the HSE’s hierarchy of controls, firms must glimpse at stopping the dust triggering a dilemma in the 1st location,” says Hilti national device employ the service of manager Walid Hussain.

Hilti has been operating for a range of a long time with device employ professional Travis Perkins in a bid to adjust this frame of mind around dust – by obtaining the message right throughout to the operators.

The hirer says as a major companion to design and a substantial supplier of seek the services of tools to trade prospects, it is normally dedicated to driving enhancements in this region: “We are getting an approach like McDonald’s, asking each individual time we use a resource ‘do you want dust extraction with that?’” states Travis Perkins seek the services of compliance supervisor Andy Lawrence.

Mr Lawrence describes himself as a “dust bore”, but his experience on the topic of dust command at the sharp conclude – practically, in this circumstance, given that it applies to the motion of the tools on the walls, floors and ceilings – has manufactured him a leading authority on the issue and it has witnessed him functioning with the Well being and Protection Govt Laboratory in Buxton on vital investigation. Obviously, he has been at the coronary heart of the rollout in the course of the 600-sturdy Travis Perkins community, endorsing both equally the concept of dust command and the array of Hilti devices that delivers it.

He claims he has been pushed by the ‘invisible’ character of the issue to hammer property the concept to operators: “It is the reality that you just can’t see the particles that do the destruction to your lungs as they are so modest, extra to the reality that by the time it results in the scarring, it is too late to do everything about it – you just cannot type this problem out with a tablet. So we have to inform men and women to cease it at supply. And that is exactly where we can enable in coming up with out the challenge and providing the instruments that can enable.”

He is particularly keen that the message receives via to the smaller organizations. The much larger contractors now have protocols in location, but it is the SMEs and the subbies, who typically haven’t had the toolbox talks, who need to be persuaded. “It is about conversing the language of the smaller builder,” he suggests, “and then making the solutions easily readily available.”

There is an significant message for the HVAC sector way too, he notes, supplied the total of work that will take place inside buildings. “Preventing dust exposure is not just about protecting the operator, it is about preserving anyone functioning in the spot, as people smallest particles cling all over for a extensive time – the latest research suggests it can be in the environment for up to two weeks.”

This actuality ought to also encourage all those functioning with social housing shoppers to get steps to regulate the dust to secure the occupants.

“The HSE stresses that the method to dust should really be ‘holistic’ – and so it may well signify transforming the tactic completely,” he notes.

“The best of the HSE’s hierarchy of controls is to eliminate the dust altogether, so for instance, as a substitute of utilizing an SDS drill for the fixings, the contractor could consider an option remedy this sort of as a Hilti DX powder-actuated software, which normally takes dust out of the equation. If you simply cannot remove the dust, the subsequent step is to cut down it. So for illustration, if you are coring, then you could use a diamond software to do the job in about 5 minutes, whereas with a drill that would have taken considerably extended.”

Spreading the word

As a maker, Hilti is in no question about the price of the Travis Perkins link in spreading the word and in introducing new operators to the kit. Indeed the employ organization is confident that its status for improving basic safety in the marketplace sets them apart in this room. “By owning the instruments and dust extraction offered all through its whole branch network, Travis Perkins provides a massive store window for basic safety and innovation for its consumers,” suggests Mr Hussain.

Mr Lawrence has Travis Perkins on a mission to educate all over dust. Alongside giving a full range of applications with extraction attachments and the new air cleaner (see box underneath), the organization is at present trialling the new Hilti Nuron battery platform. “I am excited about the new DSH 600- 22 battery cutoff saw,” he suggests. “That will allow a cutoff to be utilized inside of properties for the initially time, but it will also necessarily mean that persons will not require to continue to keep the noticed ticking above like they do with the petrol variations, which in the end saves gas and carbon.”

Mr Lawrence concludes by noting that picking the appropriate dust controls will provide positive aspects that prolong very well over and above health and basic safety: “As properly as becoming superior for the operator’s wellness, it permits them to the do the work more speedily and to do the task extra cleanly – that will give the contractor on web page extra productivity as you really do not have to have to clear up afterwards.”

For much more on tools for M&E, see:


Tackling dust with Hilti equipment

Nuron VC 5-22

This compact vacuum on the Nuron battery system has shoulder straps to make it portable if needed. The device has a capability of 3 kg of dust and a stretchable vacuum hose, extending up to 2.5 m, permits cleaning where by space is restricted. A drive-button filter cleaner dislodges dust and aids to maintain suction higher.

Nuron VC 10M-22

This M-rated moist/dry dust extractor has a 7 kg dust capability and is created for extracting with hollow applications, coming entire with optional backpack if demanded. It features computerized filter cleaning.

AIC 1000 and 2000 Air Cleaner

These air cleaners are used to obvious fi ne particles from a jobsite at velocity. The biggest wheeled units have an air stream of 1,600 cubic m at the outlet.

DRS Dust Elimination Systems

The selection of Hilti drills can be specified with further DRS attachments, supplying dust extraction at the drilling surface area without the need of the require for additional vacuums or hoses.

Supply hyperlink