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How To Breathe Safe When Cutting Concrete?

Concrete dust is a by-product of the concrete cutting and sawing process. 

Concrete cutting produces a cloud of dust which contains a compound known as crystalline silica. Silica is harmful to your health when exposed to it regularly. 

The fine particles of silica can cause irreparable damage to your lungs. 

That's why you need to put in place effective preventive measures when undertaking any form of concrete cutting or sawing to reduce the risk of long-term health complications. 

This article provides information on how to breathe safe when cutting concrete. We will take a look at the following:

  • What Is Concrete Dust?
  • Why Is Concrete Dust Harmful?
  • How To Breathe Safe When Cutting Concrete?

What Is Concrete Dust?

Concrete dust contains crystalline silica. Silica is found in sand, flint, slate, and quartz. Silicon is the second most common element on the planet after oxygen. 

When concrete is cut or crushed, it produces silicon dioxide - which is known as silica or concrete dust. 

The compound isn't hazardous unless it is exposed in the air. Silica is exposed in the air when concrete ground, cut or crushed. 

Why Is Concrete Dust Harmful?

Airborne crystalline silica places construction employees at risk of getting silicosis in the long run. 

It's a non-curable respiratory disease that is caused due to the accumulation of silica dust in the lungs. 

The dust will embed itself in the lungs and cause scar tissue to form. The lungs ability to take in oxygen is reduced by the scar tissue. 

The symptoms of the condition may not develop for at least 5 years. 

Once the symptoms develop, it may take one to two years to disable or cause death to the affected individual. There are no permanent cures for silicosis. 

Concrete workers develop different types of lung diseases from inhaling respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust.

When exposed to a very large amount of concrete dust for more than a year, the worker can develop acute silicosis. 

Accelerated silicosis may develop if the worker is exposed to RCS dust for between three to ten years. 

Chronic silicosis is a condition that occurs when a worker inhales RCS dust for over 20 years. 

When exposed to RCS dust for a longer period, the worker may develop lung cancer. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is another condition that affects workers who are exposed to RCS dust for longer periods. 

All these conditions can be easily prevented with the proper measures to protect employees while cutting concrete.

How To Breathe Safe When Cutting Concrete?

There are many techniques to breathe safe when cutting concrete. Implementing an effective method will help you stay safe while working with concrete. 

Dust extraction is one effective technique. A specialist dust extractor can be fitted to the concrete saw to vacuum up the dust when cutting concrete. 

The extractor should be made to fit the cutting tool so that all the dust can be captured from the cutting surface. 

The dust is collected in a bag to be safely disposed of later on.

Water suppression is another effective method to reduce your risk to the exposure of concrete dust. 

It creates a wet cutting area to prevent the creation of dust when cutting concrete. 

A continuous flow of water must be guaranteed during the cutting process. You need to choose the right equipment that can cope with water containment. 

The final technique is to wear protective respiratory equipment while cutting concrete. 

The chosen respirators should meet minimum workplace safety standards. They should be fitted correctly for best results and worn at all times.

If you are looking for a specialist concrete cutting company who uses only the best practices to get the job done right, then please call us at Megasaw  on 1300 920 419 or contact us through our website www.megasaw.com.au/contact-us/

 
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