Concrete Repair and Upkeep: Tips for All Seasons

Welcome to my concrete blog. My name is Helen, and I hate stumbling over old and broken concrete. It makes a home, business or even a whole neighborhood look old and unkempt. To make the world a more beautiful place, I have decided to create this blog. In it, I plan to post everything I have learned about concrete over the years. I plan to include everything from maintenance schedules to upkeep tips to simple repairs to financial risks of broken concrete. If you have a patch of concrete anywhere on your property, I hope you enjoy the information in this blog and learn something new from it.

Dealing With Silica Dust When Cutting Concrete

Construction & Contractors Blog

When cutting concrete, you have to be prepared to face the dust produced as a result of the process. The dust, silica, poses a danger to the health of your workers as well as yours. Your workers are at risk of suffering from silicosis, a lung disease that develops when silica accumulates in the lungs. What is worse is that the disease cannot be cured. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a person working up to 10 hours a day should not be exposed to more than 0.05 mg/cubic meter of silica content. Here are ways in which you can guard your workers against silica dust:

1. Embrace Wet Cutting

Cutting concrete while it is wet minimizes the silica dust produced in the process. According to a research by the University of Massachusetts, cutting wet concrete may reduce respirable dust concentration by a whopping 85%. The tools used in the research were concrete pipes, a concrete saw, and a hose. The hose was for spraying water on the concrete. In the end, the results showed that the average concentration of dust produced during dry cutting was 14.396 mg/cubic meter.

When these results were compared to those of wet cutting, it was discovered that the silica dust produced during dry cutting is ten times more than that produced during wet cutting. And hence, the results confirmed the hypothesis that wetter is better when it comes to concrete cutting.

2. Use A Proper Vacuum System

A vacuum cleaner can reduce your workers chances of inhaling silica dust, but only if the cleaner is up to the required standards. One of the standards is that the cleaner should be equipped with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The filter significantly reduces the chance of respirable crystalline silica from being released to the worksite. The cleaner should also have a filter replacement indicator -- a pressure gauge -- that allows workers to check the flow of air. Without it, it would be hard to tell if there is a dust plume escaping from the shroud.

Another key feature of the cleaner is its ability to collect dust and take it to the vacuum source; the air flow rate in your cleaner should be sufficient enough to attain dust control. One study suggests that the rate should be around 70 cubic feet/ minute.

Of course there are also personal protection methods you can employ. Use of respirators and masks are some of the methods. 


8 March 2016