Protecting worker health in construction and dust recycling

1 Nov 2015

As with the recycling of most construction materials, environmental and human safety issues must be addressed. The Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA) suggest that possible issues of concern for operators include the potential presence of lead-based paint and asbestos in buildings. Dust and fibres from these substances are hazardous to long term health and crystalline silica, metal dust and fiberglass have also been identified as key hazards.  Dust and fibres from these sources as well as many other nuisance dusts need to be monitored.

With 19,000 workers at the very least estimated to be working in the construction and demolition recycling industry, it is worth examining how best to monitor dust in order to prevent occupational lung diseases. [1] An increasing number of construction and demolition businesses are recognising that they can both comply with legislation and improve their productivity and profitability by using sampling pumps, a valuable tool with which to protect employee health.

 

In addition to protective clothing and accessories, the preservation of health in the construction and demolition workplace can be strongly supported by exposure monitoring tools.  This includes personal air sampling pumps used to monitor the presence of harmful dusts in the workplace. Respirable dust, which is the most harmful size fraction, is not visible to the naked eye, so workers are all too often unaware that this type of exposure poses a problem. By using a personal sampling pump, industrial hygienists can quantify the levels of personal exposure.

 

Most industrial and manufacturing companies have embraced health and safety as an established part of their business processes.  Health and safety practices are based on an assessment of risk, with accident prevention measures and basic employee training being the initiatives that are put in place. Historically, the focus has very much been on accident prevention rather than industrial hygiene and the long term health of employees. Although this approach complies with legislation, it is often based on a premise that health and safety rules are a necessary encumbrance to a business, rather than essential measures that should be respected, reviewed, enhanced and maybe even exceeded.

[1]http://www.cdrecycling.org/assets/docs/exec%20summary_cd%20recycling%20impact%20white%20paper.pdf

The designers and engineers behind instrumentation for industrial hygiene have been working to provide adequate solutions that companies can use to protect employees from dusts and fumes but the technology is not new.  Casella developed the very first sampling pump over 60 years ago, but now, with its class beating performance, simple interface slim ergonomic design, the new Casella Apex2 embraces the added capabilities of remote Bluetooth connectivity. This allows trained professionals to monitor the performance of the pump on multiple employees without preventing them from doing their job.

 

The move towards tougher protection and monitoring when it comes to dusts exposure needs to become an established part of the business processes for most construction and demolition companies.  The successful implementation of health and safety legislation needs to move beyond a simple assessment of risk and compliance with the requirements of legislation to protect the future health of its workers. As a result companies that do dust monitoring will begin to notice how good health and safety practice protects profitability.  All companies know that when work days are lost due to workplace injury, or work-related illness, the site suffers reduced productivity, which affects everyone. Protecting the long term health of workers will benefit business financially, in terms of their reputation and also their ongoing relationship with employees. The change to a responsible culture will be a welcome one for all.

 

Casella Solutions’ extensive experience allows us to provide quality and highly suitable products for the construction and demolition sector. All you need to do is ask. 

 

Visit www.casellasolutions.com for more information. 

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