No matter how often you get your feather duster or vacuum cleaner out, we all know how quickly dust and detritus can build up around the house, especially after DIY, moving furniture or having a clear-out.
It’s the same with our refurbishment work – but on a much, much bigger scale.
And while that sprinkling of dust on an ornament won’t do anything worse than make you sneeze, the volume of dust sometimes produced in our work – for instance during paint stripping – needs to be managed.
That’s why lead contractor FM Conway follows the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). These regulations list a number of activities to eliminate or limit the production of dust, as well as how to keep it under control when it is produced. The measures include:
- Wearing dust masks, and other respiratory protective equipment (RPE) such as a transparent full-face visor, is obligatory during any task that might produce dust – this is a measure to protect the workforce. Everyone who needs to wear a dust mask is also “Face Fit Tested” to ensure they are wearing the correct mask for the work being carried out, and that they know how to fit the mask to offer maximum protection.
- Extraction refers to the way dust is removed from an area as it is produced. We use a number of tools with in-built extraction features, plus other extraction tools that can be used independently – which is something like holding a vacuum cleaner’s nozzle near a drill when doing DIY.
- Damping down with water is also known as ‘water suppression’. A work area will be sprayed to prevent dust particles getting into the air during tasks such as cutting concrete or paving.
- Limiting the number of cuts. When drilling or cutting a material such as concrete, we consider how to minimise the number of cuts or incisions made, which in turn minimises the amount of dust created.
- Working off-site is also important in combatting dust. Carrying out work in an environment more suited to industrial activities means it’s easier to manage any waste materials and minimises the need to carry out dust management activities on or around the bridge.
Doing these and other things helps to keep dust under control, because a clean site is a safe site, for everyone.