It is no secret that working with concrete can be dangerous. And when you consider that over 250,000 people are working in concrete manufacturing and that over 10 percent of those workers will experience a job-related illness or injury each year. Concrete dust generates many of these injuries. But why is concrete dust so harmful?
Concrete Dust Irritates the Eyes, Nose, & Throat
You can tolerate the fine, powdery, silica-laden dust for a limited time. But the longer you are exposed to it, the more it irritates these areas. A good way to protect yourself from this irritation is to use a respiratory mask such as a P-, N-, or R-95 mask covering your nose and mouth and safety goggles.
Concrete Dust Irritates and Cracks Skin
The best way to prevent concrete dust from irritating your skin is to wear work pants and long-sleeve shirts with gloves. This is very important because concrete dust can cause chemical burns and thin or crack the skin. Washing often with soap and water also limits exposure to concrete dust.
Inhaling or Ingesting Concrete Dust
Concrete dust contains silica, and silica exposure injures your lungs. Inhaling silica leads to serious lung diseases such as emphysema, COPD, kidney disease, and bronchitis. Because the silica particles are so tiny, they can penetrate the lungs deeply and damage and scar the lung tissue. Silica is a known carcinogen that has been linked to lung cancer.
The most severe injuries come from silicosis, a potentially fatal disease that causes permanent damage to the lungs by inhaling silica from concrete dust. There is no cure, and the silicosis cannot be reversed. It can only be prevented. The insidious nature of silicosis is that you may not exhibit symptoms of the disease right away, but later, symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, night sweats, and chest pain. By the time the victim is exhibiting these symptoms it may be too late. Silicosis causes swelling and hardening of the lung tissue–known as fibrosis–that permanently scars the lungs and prevents them from working properly.
Managing Concrete Dust is the Only Method to Prevent Illness and Injury
The best way to prevent illness and injury from concrete dust is to manage it with an industrial dust collector. These dust collectors can filter out the tiniest silica dust and make the work environment safer. Masks and respirators can help but cannot manage the contaminant load commonly seen in most operations that generate concrete dust. An industrial dust filtration system is essential to keep people safe.
Matrix Systems Supplies, Services, and Supports All DustHog Industrial Dust Collection Systems
At Matrix Systems, we provide DustHog industrial dust collection solutions in many different configurations, one of which is sure to meet your concrete dust management needs. Not only do we sell these units, but we also provide replacement filters, provide routine maintenance, and support them. For more information, give us a call at either (510) 822-5167 for Bay Area customers or (530) 273-5474 for Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada area customers. Complete our online contact form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.