Dust monitoring is the detection, assessment, and control of particulate matter or ‘PM’. It is monitored on the basis of the size and concentration of PM. The two types of dust monitoring include PM10 and PM 2.5 where the quantity and size of the particles are both measured. There are several different safety technologies that can help you monitor PM in varying degrees of accuracy and depth.
However, construction dust is not just a nuisance but may cause severe health implications, even death. These particles, as they enter the lungs and bloodstream, can be linked to a wide range of physical and mental health disorders, according to Specto Technology. That is why dust monitoring is important for many construction projects and in industries such as quarrying, mining, and manufacturing.
What is Construction Dust?
Construction dust is a term generally used to describe different kinds of dust that one may find on a construction site. According to eLCOSH, it includes three main kinds of dust:
Silica dust: It is formed when working on silica-containing materials like concrete, mortar, and sandstone.
Wood dust: It is formed when working on softwood, hardwood, and wood-based products like MDF and plywood.
Lower toxicity dust: It is formed when working on materials that contain very little or no silica, such as gypsum (e.g., in drywall), limestone, marble, and dolomite.
Dust is often ignored as a potential hazard because the particles that do the most damage are not visible to the human eye. Also, the health implications caused by dust may take years to develop. However, any exposure to these dust types, especially silica dust can be extremely harmful.
What are the Health Implications of Construction Dust?
Dust builds up in the lungs, slowly damages them over time, and its effects are often not immediately apparent. By the time people notice that they have a problem, most of the damage is already done. It can be severe and life-changing, with permanent disability and even early death. Some lung diseases such as advanced silicosis or asthma can, however, develop quickly.
The most common dust-related diseases found among construction workers are:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Ocular damage and loss of vision
Regulatory Requirements for Dust Monitoring
Apart from the health implications, compliance with the law also makes dust monitoring necessary. Regulatory requirements for the control of dust generated during demolition operations are dependent on the local ordinances or codes, county ordinances or codes, state regulations, and some federal regulations according to the information published by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Even where there are no regulatory requirements, some permits or construction contracts may include provisions that require specific control measures for dust generated, especially during demolition projects.
So, effective dust monitoring can not only reduce the risk of illness but also financially future-proof businesses. With the right monitoring tools, you can save the lives of people as well as protect yourself against potential litigation claims.