There are more and more stories emerging from the stonemasons, granite and mining industries about workers, a lot of them young men in their prime, developing silicosis and other lung or respiratory diseases.
See ABC's article from 16 September 2019: Silicosis surge prompts more calls for a ban on engineered stone products
It’s a tragedy and its seriousness has been likened to asbestos.
So what can be done to help prevent dangerous dust in the workplace, not just in the workshop but also on site during installation, in relation to engineered stone benchtops and the like?
Removing dust from clothing
Obviously all workers should be wearing correct masks and PPE while working with fine dust. But the fine dust particles remain on workers’ clothing during breaks and on the journey home from work, putting them and their families at risk. Personnel cleaning booths and stations are now increasing in popularity and demand in order to resolve this.
The JetBlack Safety Personnel Cleaning Booth is designed to safely and effectively agitate and remove fine particles (including stone and cement dust), fibres and water from work gear without the occupant having to remove any clothing or PPE. It takes less than 20 seconds and can be operated manually or hands-free, with options to walk-through the booth (from workshop to clean room). This can be done as many times during the day as required for workers to safely (and cleanly) take breaks, move to a clean room, or leave work to go home.
JetBlack Safety’s blower-driven air creates an “air shower” effect - a down-draft - over the occupant, which blows the dirt down, to be extracted through HEPA filters ensuring no particles escape into the atmosphere. It does not use compressed air, rather blower-driven air at low pressure high velocity, which can be safely directed at any part of the body and is always available (no re-pressurisation downtime).
Find out more about the JetBlack Safety personnel cleaning range.
What about working on-site?
Local exhaust ventilation, or at-source fume extraction, is not new, especially for the welding industry. The ability to use flexible arms to position the fume extraction right at the source of dust or fumes when welding, grinding or soldering is becoming very popular in many workshops, schools, and manufacturing plants.
But, did you know you can also get mobile and portable units that would enable granite installers to bring their own dust extraction solutions directly to site. Plymoth’s mobile filtered extraction systems offer a versatile high velocity, high volume collection hood, for fume and dust extraction and collection from the source. This unit is ideal for workshop environments for multi-purpose use and flexibility as it can be moved around the site and only needs a single phase outlet.
For more concise or confined space extraction the lower volume PortaFlex unit is like a portable vacuum cleaner for fumes and dust. It’s high performance fan and built-in filter, (HEPA filtration is also available) together with a 2.5 metre extraction hose provide a very effective filtered extraction unit. Simply plug it in and point the nozzle to where the dust and fumes being generated.
Find out more about our Plymoth fume extraction range.