Advice for workers
Construction dust is not just a nuisance, it can cause serious damage to your lungs. These effects can be life changing and even fatal.
You are most at risk if you regularly do any of the following jobs without the right controls:
- Using a cut-off saw on kerbs, blocks, paving slabs, roof tiles and other concrete products
- Chasing, scabbling or grinding concrete
- Drilling or coring for long periods, particularly indoors
- Abrasive pressure blasting
- Cutting and sanding wood with power tools
- Sanding plasterboard jointing
- Dry sweeping
- Internal demolition and soft stripping.
Follow any instructions and advice that your employer gives you. In particular you should:
- Use water or on tool extraction provided to keep dust out of the air
- Keep your tools and equipment in good order
- Avoid dry sweeping
- Wear your facemask to protect you from any remaining dust
These controls are there to protect your health and your future.
Your employer has a duty to put in place the right controls to protect your health. If you think that they are not doing this then ask them about it or seek help from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
You are most at risk from the smallest dust particles that you cannot see. That doesn’t mean they are not there.
Even when you are keeping the dust down, you are still likely to need a facemask.
It is easy to use a mask badly. This means it might not give you ANY protection. You should first be given a face-fit test to make sure the mask is right for you. You then need to wear it correctly so that the really fine dust cannot get in through any gaps. Store masks properly. Don’t leave them in a pile of dirt!!
If you do not, you will continue to cause irreversible damage to your lungs. This may mean:
- You do not have enough breath to do simple tasks at work or enjoy your home life
- You may be unable to provide for yourself or your family
- You are regularly or permanently connected to an oxygen cylinder to help your breathing
- You are subjecting yourself to a needlessly early death