Cutting concrete is a messy job that can generate a large amount of dust. If you do not have the correct dust control measures in place in your workplace, you may end up breathing in fine dust particles. These particles can create a number of health hazards such as a chronic lung disorder called silicosis. Silicosis causes the lungs to become scarred and can lead to difficulty breathing and even death. Dust can also cause irritation to your eyes, throat and nose. Below is a guide to dust control measures you should take when cutting concrete.
Wet dust control systems
Wet dust control systems can be used if you are cutting concrete using a non-electrical saw, such as one powered by compressed air or a petrol engine. Using water as a dust control measure on an electrical saw creates the risk of electrocution. A wet dust control system works by spraying a jet of water onto the blade of the saw as it cuts. The water mixes with any dust before it becomes airborne and causes it to become a fine slurry which is constantly washed away. The water also helps to cool the blade of the saw as it becomes heated by the friction created during the concrete cutting operation. A concrete cutting saw will either feature a control valve so it can be linked to the mains water supply or a special attachment which can hold a pressurised water container.
Exhaust ventilation dust control systems can be used on any type of concrete cutting saw, even saws which are powered by electricity. This dust control system utilises the guard on the saw as a dust collecting area. You will need to attach the guard of the saw to a vacuum cleaner. This will create enough suction to trap any dust created at the site of the cut, preventing them from entering the atmosphere. This type of dust control system is ideally suited to saws with guards that have a flexible inner sleeve, as this maximises the amount of dust that can be collected and can also operate at a range of cut depths. Unlike wet dust control systems, no slurry is produced using this method.
You should also ensure that you wear the proper protective equipment as part of your dust control measures. This includes wearing a respirator to prevent the inhalation of dust, googles to protect your eyes and ear defenders.