Why Is Dust A Problem?

Dust Is Bad For Your Lungs

There are many common materials, such as stone, wood, concrete and fibreglass, all of which contain potentially harmful crystallised dust particles. When crystals of dust are inhaled, they can settle in our lungs and cause long-term health problems. These problems can include scar tissue that could lead to complete lung failure, cancers, and also swelling and irritation of the airways.

When exposed to lots of dust each day, you are adding more and more to crystals in your lungs and their cells.  Eventually, without proper protection, your lung cells may die, and this could ultimately prove fatal.

Free Dust Safety Resources For You 

What’s Being Done?

Stone masons, construction workers and those who work on other dusty job sites are being encouraged to learn about the risks and take greater care. It's a case of being more mindful around certain materials. Concrete, for example, is really common but contains high amounts of silica, so increased caution is needed. 

Things that can be done in the workplace to reduce dust inhalation include:

  • Changing tools being used to cut, saw and grind to minimise dust created in the first case
  • Protecting workers with full PPE and respiratory wear
  • Using dust extractors
  • Sectioning off dangerous areas of the workspace to reduce the risk of crowded inhalation
  • Using tools which offer complete dust control during cutting and grinding

What’s most important is that people learn about how to handle hazardous dust in the workplace. Inhaling high-risk dust may lead to potentially life-threatening illnesses so it's well worth a simple upgrade of tools or a change of approach to ensure you're properly protected from dust.

You can start taking action against workplace dust by increasing awareness. Your training and workplace health and safety modules should already cover dust inhalation to its full extent. However, individual workers should always understand the risks involved when working with certain materials and take those risks seriously. 

You should also ensure that your team has access to full systems that allow maximum dust extraction; both on-tool extraction and extractor units. This will help to remove harmful dust from the air and will ensure that you can safely dispose of it at the end of the day.

Take Action

If you’re concerned about dust in the workplace, Festool can help. Our high-quality systems will help you better control dust, both at the source and during removal, and minimise the overall health risks. Take a look at our dust extraction system here, read our online guides or call 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 advice. All regulatory and compliance enquiries must go to the relevant Worksafe organisation responsible for each region of Australia. Information provided in this article is accurate as of August 2019.