In the last 25 years there have been huge changes in health and safety, practically, in legislation and in attitudes. Neil Richardson, Director at Garic looks at how advancements in technology has changed dust suppression solutions.
The HSE estimates that more than 500 construction workers are dying from exposure to silica dust every year so the control of hazardous dust emissions is becoming ever more regulated – and rightly so.
Regularly breathing in any type of dust can cause life changing lung diseases, so managing and controlling exposure to airborne substances is a major responsibility for the industry. Yet many companies still overlook the dangers, often making decisions on whether they need to implement a dust control strategy based on common misunderstandings. These range from the dust being too fine to be a problem, especially if workers are only exposed for short periods, to wet weather which it is assumed will do the damping down ‘naturally’.
Neither of these assumptions are true. According to the HSE, the largest amount of silica dust anyone should be breathing in per day is smaller than a grain of rice. And whilst even the most miserable of rainy days may help suppress construction site dust, it does not eradicate the danger as rain droplets are simply too big to bind with dust particles.
The latest regulations outlined in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) state that companies must assess and control the risks from dust and then review the controls that are put in place to manage them.
The regulations are very clear. However, less clear, is the most effective method on how to deal with each dust hazard. With so many dust control products on the market and so many different types of dust being generated across the construction industry, many companies just don’t know where to start.
This issue is something we are increasingly advising on and something we have done a lot of research into.
Spray cannons now offer the best dust suppression solution by far. There are huge product ranges available which are multifunctional, robust, and adaptable and have the option for add-ons to ensure that each job, which can have unique dust problems, can be fully catered for.
Garic is supplying some of the most comprehensive dust control products that have come to the UK market. The difference in this particular spray cannon range is the development and technology of a unique misting solution which enables the cannons to spray water particles as fine as 10 microns and as robust as 150 microns. This creates a ‘fog’ which binds together with the airborne dust, encapsulates it, and causes it to fall quickly and safely to the ground where it can be dealt with effectively through conventional means.
Most recently, Garic has advised the operators of a port in Derry, Northern Ireland on how to control the dust created by the movement of construction aggregates during import and export.
Steve Booth, Head of Sales (Global) at Garic said: “This is the first time we have supplied to a port but it makes you realise that it’s the whole supply chain and not just construction sites that can be put at risk in reaching one end goal.
“At Foyle Port we have adapted a SC35ssM cannon by fixing it to a hydraulic mast to give an additional five meters in height. This ensures that the water mist, which can be projected up to a range of 35m, rains over the top of the dust and binds with it as it falls ensuring the dust doesn’t have chance to rise and displace at all.”
The spray cannon itself is fully self-contained with generator and water tank all housed on a towable trailer. This enables it to be moved and set up anywhere around the port quickly and easily with minimum effort.
In conclusion, we hope that advances in spray cannon products mean that something as common as breathing in dust can be drastically reduced, and conditions from advanced silicosis and asthma to the most life-changing lung disorders can be eradicated. Nobody should be put at that risk simply by going to work, whatever part of the construction supply chain they work
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