Hazardous dust in the workplace and how to handle it
Hazardous dust in your work environment may be more harmful than you think. Just because you are unable to see it, doesn’t mean it can’t cause you serious harm. When breathed in, microscopic particles of silica, wood, asbestos and more can travel deep into your lungs. If allowed to do this, they may cause long term damage and could even lead to severe occupational diseases.
Knowing how to handle hazardous dust in the workplace is extremely important. While anyone can wear protective equipment and masks, you need to have a more comprehensive strategy for isolating and removing harmful particles in the air. To prevent dust from causing any long-term health problems, you need to remove it at the source. No exceptions!
Free Dust Safety Resources For You
Using the Right Tools
The best way to take control of hazardous dust is to prevent it or remove it before it can disperse. That may sound impossible to do, but with high quality tools and the right extraction and ventilation equipment, you will be able to work – and breathe – safely.
As we’ve covered in our guide to hazardous dust in the workplace, there are several steps you can take to protect against dust escaping into the air. For example, you should think about using tools which extract dust at the source. Festool equipment will not only minimise the amount of dust created, but will capture it to be fed into an extractor. This means you never have to come into contact with dust at all.
Similarly, you should be careful to use the right blades and cutting tools. Some will simply create more dust the more you use them. Festool tools are designed with features, accessories and consumables like blades that minimise dust release completely.
When it comes to controlling dust, you need to think about eliminating it altogether. As some hazardous dust particles are invisible to the naked eye, you cannot take traditional ventilation at its word. It is good practice to work in wide open spaces and to ventilate as much as possible, but you are going to need an extra helping hand if you want to remove dust from the picture entirely.
There are plenty of things you can do to protect your work area from dust, however, we recommend you remove all doubt from the start of the process. Extra care is obviously going to be helpful, and by extracting fine dust and containing it for safe disposal later, you will be able to focus completely on your work.
Let’s look at what you can do to safely move dust:
- Use tools with on-tool extraction features
- Use high quality, high performance dust extractor units
- Use dust bags that properly capture and seal dust for safe removal at a later point
- Separate work spaces and areas to prevent contamination
It’s important to avoid letting dust filter into public areas, which is why it's safer and more efficient to use extractors and specific tools to prevent the release of harmful particles. Just because you can’t see the dust, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Festool dust extraction units and tools work to remove and contain the finest of dust particles. Rather than having to change materials or using working methods which haven’t been trialled, rely on industry-leading, tested and safe systems.
Festool is Australia’s leading name in dust extraction systems for the workplace. If you're concerned about dust safety and hazardous materials, take a look at our range of products, or call our team today on 1300 063 900 for more advice.
We also offer free tool demonstrations on all our products so if this is of interest, book here.
Disclaimer: This information is not endorsed by any Work Health and Safety governing body and shouldn't be interpreted as any form of legal or health advice. All regulatory and compliance enquiries must go to the relevant Worksafe organisation responsible for each region of Australia. All health-based enquiries should be discussed with and handled by a Medical Professional. Information provided in this article is accurate as of August 2019.