Construction site managers have dozens of moving parts to carefully track, the most important of which is worker safety. This can be in the form of machinery management, maintenance, and safety, or it can be in the form of protection against construction site dust inhalation.
Construction site dust can cause damage and long-term health issues when inhaled, especially over prolonged periods. To keep employees on sites safe, there are dust control products for construction sites available, which we’ll go over below.
Is Construction Dust Harmful?
Is construction dust harmful? Yes, very much so. Inhaling dust, especially over an extended time, can lead to a wide array of health issues. This includes, but is not limited to, lung cancer, asthma, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, cardiovascular disease, and silicosis. These ailments and diseases are known to occur in construction workers.
Some of these conditions develop very quickly, like asthma or silicosis, while others develop over time. As dust builds up in the lung with consistent inhalation, the harm is not always visible, and by the time symptoms begin to develop and they realize there is a problem, it may be too late for preventative treatment. The consequences are life-altering, leading to chronic or permanent issues, and even death.
Types of Dust on Construction Sites
Calling it ‘construction dust’ is somewhat broad. There are a few different types of dust on construction sites. The primary types are listed below.
A common construction site dust is silica, a naturally occurring mineral that is often found in granite, sand, and sandstone. On a construction site, you can find it in mortar and concrete. As the concrete and other materials are being drilled into, ground up, or simply cut, silica breaks down into a fine dust called respirable crystalline silica, or RCS.
Another common dust found on construction sites is wood dust. Hardwood and softwood are two types of wood that are used on construction sites, and good examples of wood-based products regularly used in construction are MDF and chipboard. As wood dust from cutting and sanding can be harmful to construction workers’ health, keeping it down is essential.
Another dust to keep in mind during construction site dust monitoring is simply ‘general dust’. This dust comes from bricks, cement, limestone, marble, gypsum, dolomite, and others, and combines with other forms of dust.
How to Control Dust on Construction Sites
Having a solid dust control plan for construction site safety is the best way to mitigate any potential risks and keep the site well ventilated. Though creating dust on a site cannot be avoided, certain methods can be utilized to contain this harmful dust. Following are a few effective ways to keep your construction site safe for work.
A common method of construction site dust control is using water, as it provides good results and is incredibly cost-effective. However, using water for dust control requires maintaining a careful balance. The water needs to be applied at least three times a day, if not more. On the other hand, using too much water will lead to erosion. Using a water tanker to spray the water will keep the dust down most efficiently.
Mulch and Vegetation
One of the more environmentally-friendly dust control measures on construction sites is the use of mulch and vegetation. Mulch will help the ground retain more moisture, keeping dust particles heavy and less likely to fly everywhere. Vegetation can also reduce wind erosion, but requires watering, making it a less appealing option that requires even more planning and coordinating. It can also attract birds, critters, and other wildlife that you may not want on your site.
Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride
If you want to know how to control dust on construction sites, the definitive answer is using a de-icing product. The chloride in magnesium and calcium chloride retains moisture pulled from its surroundings, keeping dust particles together and preventing them from flying everywhere during construction. De-icers like calcium and magnesium chloride are often utilized for dust control in other areas, like dirt roads and even horse arenas.
Using de-icers may seem like an odd choice, but it is very effective and offers a high return on investment. Though the cost may be higher than other methods, the chloride will control dust for significantly longer than other alternatives, allowing for fewer applications and less hassle. With de-icing products, you will save time and keep your construction workers safe and healthy without having to worry about constant reapplication.
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Keep Dust Out of the Work Site with Ninja De-Icer!
Now that you know how to reduce dust on a construction site, you can take the necessary steps to keep yourself and your employees safe and out of harm's way. Purchasing calcium chloride or magnesium chloride de-icers will help keep airborne dust to a minimum without the hassle of constant reapplications.
If you are looking for top-notch calcium or magnesium chloride for your construction site, Ninja De-Icer is your one-stop shop. Get a quote today to speak with one of our specialists and find the right dust control product for your needs.