How to Contain Dust on the Construction Site
Dust containment during construction plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of employees as well as the functioning of machinery. Construction work can create a lot of dust that can lead to a variety of types of air pollution. If not properly contained, this pollution may infect workers, causing illness. Machinery contaminated by dust means more downtime for maintenance work and less productivity with a reduction in functioning longevity. In order to prevent work hazards from happening, dust containment must always be a priority when considering construction work in a business setting.
There are three key steps involved in dust containment. All are crucial when creating a safe, clean environment:
1. Create a Risk Management System
Prevention is vital when undertaking a large construction project. Before any construction starts, a quality risk management system that addresses the liability of the construction work involved, specifically with regards to dust containment, should be created to ensure job satisfaction and safety. By planning out policies for the arranged construction work and planning for dust containment as part of the estimated costs for construction, a company safeguards its employees and machinery from lack of prepared materials and takes the right measures to prevent dust contamination. You can see an effective risk management system in action here.
2. Starting the Isolation Process
Dust containment begins with keeping a construction area properly isolated, even before the construction work starts. Barriers used to completely cover the work zone area, as well as areas employees occupy, restrict dust contamination from occurring and allow the employees to safely fulfill their duties in a secured environment.
If a small area inside of a larger space requires complete protection, options could include:
- Total Enclosures A total enclosure utilizes both walls and suspended cover to create a room within a room. The result is the ability to keep dust and debris completely out or completely in.
- Tunnels By utilizing both walls and suspended cover to create a tunnel, pathways can be established, thus preventing employees from having to cross through or interact with the construction area.
If a large space such as a manufacturing floor or hotel needs to be partitioned off, protection options are available for both vertical and horizontal implementations, such as:
- Temporary Walls These walls are particularly effective at sealing off large areas, especially ones that have high ceilings that cannot easily be reached with a standard studded wall.
- Suspended Cover Interior protection below the roof deck can be useful regardless of project size, but is more commonly used when the project affects a wide area or number of areas. It is a critical solution, particularly when the facility cannot be closed during the reroofing project.
- Total Enclosures This solution is not only effective when smaller areas need to be enclosed, but also in a large space when going all the way to the roof deck is not an option due to accessibility. Putting a suspended cover “lid” on walls can be a logistical solution that still has the same effect as completely sealing to the deck.
3. Ventilating the Space
When dust pollution circulates in the air, the immune systems of workers are at risk of illness and extended health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. All of which can be a result of large amounts of foreign dust particles entering the body due to improper dust containment.
During a project an isolated area is a common need. While closing off a section helps prevent damage and contamination throughout the entire facility, it puts workers at a higher risk of harmful dust exposure. Ventilating is crucial in these situations to protect both the facility and the workers while keeping the project moving forward. It is important to have a proper plan of action set in place for the isolated areas to have proper airflow during the project.
When it comes to protecting the health and welfare of both the facility employees and the construction team, there are options for dust containment. By considering interior protection up front and including it in the overall project plan, long term health concerns can be avoided while still allowing construction to continue. Take the steps to have a professional containment provider assess the situation and create a solution that fits both your project needs and budget.