Flat sawing is one of the most identified and popular concrete cutting techniques that involve using a diamond blade cutter that is mounted horizontally onto the concrete. Only one operator is needed for the entire operation. Flat sawing is quite versatile and is suitable for numerous jobs, as it can make general cuts that are up to 24 inches deep and specialized cuts that are up to 27 inches deep. Despite its efficiency and effectiveness, there is no doubt that a lot of dust is produced from concrete cutting.
What Are the Health Hazards Associated with Coming Into Contact with the Dust?
Concrete contains crystalline silica dust that is composed mainly of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. It is considered as a carcinogen meaning that it causes cancer. These dust particles can be easily respired in the dust form, and can lead to fatalities and disabling illnesses.
The respiration of the dust particles can also cause silicosis, which is categorized into three different forms: chronic or class, accelerated and acute. Silicosis causes the formation of scar tissues in the lung, which reduces the ability of the lungs to take up oxygen, and also causes an individual to become more susceptible to lung infections. Exposure to crystalline silica dust remains a serious threat for over 2 million American workers each year.
How Can Workers and Property Owners Protect Themselves from Exposure?
Naturally, the best remedy for silicosis is the implementation of preventive mechanisms and procedures that limit not only exposure to crystalline silica dust particles, but also the production of these dust particles during concrete cutting procedures. Recommended techniques include
- educating workers and all on-site personnel of the hazards involved with respiring crystalline silica dust particles. By educating those who are most susceptible to the dust particles, these individuals will be aware of the need to limit exposure.
- using proper equipment that is well-maintained. Most equipment will either have vacuums that are used to suck up the majority of the dust particles or will use mechanisms involving water to ensure that the dust particles do not become air-borne.
- ensuring that all workers and on-site personnel are fitted with proper respirators that can help filter out the particles that are air-borne.
- placing up signs that notify individuals that there is a risk for being exposed to crystalline dust particles on the site.
- minimizing the amount of contact that workers and on-site personnel may have with areas that are contaminated with these dust particles.
- installing air monitoring equipment that will provide details regarding the concentration of dust particles that are present in the air and in the environment.
- having proper filtration devices installed that will actively remove the particles.
Being aware of this hazard is one of the first steps of being able to avoid it. It is crucial that extreme precaution is used when working during concrete cutting procedures in order to limit exposure. Most concrete cutting equipment will have safety mechanisms in place that help remove dust particles or prevent them from becoming air-borne.Share