The use of heavy-duty machinery when floor grinding, cutting, or drilling creates and encourages the spread of hazardous dust, which presents significant health and safety issues for contractors on the job.
Floor grinding, for instance, represents one of the most challenging applications for source extraction. The grinding discs used on floor grinders are highly abrasive and generate large quantities of fine dust. In fact, up to 100 litres of respirable crystalline silica dust can be generated every hour, which can cause serious damage to the health of those who inhale the fine particles – which cannot be seen by the naked eye and can be easily inhaled.
Being exposed to and breathing in such high levels of fine dust can lead to widespread occupational lung diseases such as pneumoconiosis, while also increasing the chance of developing other dust-related diseases such as cancer, asthma, allergic alveolitis and irritation, as well as a whole range of non-respiratory illnesses. Overexposure to dust for a prolonged period of time can even cause permanent disabilities and death.
It is therefore essential that efficient measures are put in place to ensure the protection of contractors and the quality of their products, while adhering to the relevant health and safety regulations.
Every contractor working in flooring must follow the regulations set out in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, which highlights the Workplace Exposure Limits (WEL).
The WEL requirement is split into two parts, with the first referring to inhalable dust, which is regarded as entire dust particles that can enter the nose or mouth. The second refers to respirable dust, which are the fine dust particles invisible to the naked eye. They offer differing limits, with the inhalable dust limit set at 10mg.m3 and the respirable limit at 4mg.m3.
These limits are legally binding, and businesses must ensure that they abide by the limits contained in the act, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advising businesses on how to best manage the problems caused by excess dust. Its Construction Information Sheets 36 and 69 outline the necessary steps to take when it comes to on-tool dust extraction; the most efficient form of dust prevention for those working in the flooring industry.
Marking 50 years of experience in developing dust extraction solutions to fit client requirements in the construction industry, Dustcontrol UK remains committed to making work environments cleaner and therefore safer. This is achieved through equipment that are cyclone based, HEPA 13 filtered and built to Application Class H as standard for a no compromise approach to performance and dust containment.
Take our DC Tromb 400 – our most powerful single-phase dust extractor. It has been designed to meet modern safety requirements and to work in conjunction with tools that have become ever more efficient on today's construction sites. The maximum airflow is as high as 400 m3/h, which is more than enough capacity for equipment such as floor grinders with a working width of 500 mm and large electric cut-off saws. It is also easy to transport around construction sites, move in stairwells, and lift into tight spaces, while the wheels are puncture-proof and lockable for working on uneven ground. In addition, bag replacement is easy, and its HEPA H13 filter offers optimum quality, containment, and performance.
Also offering outstanding extraction performance and the latest addition to the DC Tromb mobile extraction unit family, is the DC Tromb Turbo. One of the major updates is the three-phase turbo motor that has been added specifically to enable running for long periods without the need to switch off. The new model has also been developed with a thermal protector that activates at high temperatures, while a simpler filter change has also been included for easier and quicker removal.
There's also the DCF Tromb, which is ideal for floor grinding and semi-mobile systems where large quantities of dust are handled. The pre-separator reduces the strain on the extraction source and is equipped with a container/bag solution for dust-free bag replacement, therefore allowing the user to avoid unnecessary and time-consuming shutdowns.
Another piece of equipment suited to the wood flooring trade is the DCF 60, a mobile pre-separator that has been specifically designed to deal with large quantities of dust. Its large inlet also makes it particularly suitable for coarser dust. The DCF 60 can be connected to any of our DC 1800 eco, DC 2900 and DC Tromb 400 dust extractors. It can remove up to 90 per cent of the dust, considerably reducing the load on the dust extractor, while the operator doesn't have to empty the canister too frequently.
We also offer the DC Storm – a powerful and reliable mobile dust extractor built on a robust and sturdy steel chassis for maximum durability. With a direct-driven, three-phase turbopump, the DC Storm can be used for continuous operation, conveying heavy material away, source extraction, and cleaning.
The powerful dust extractor also provides sufficient air flow for several users at the same time, and it can also be used as a semi-mobile central unit in a tubing system. Furthermore, it has a tiltable cyclone for ergonomic filter replacement and is suitable for source extraction for grinding discs up to approx. 800 mm/ 31" in diameter.
In terms of complementary air cleaners, the DC AirCube 2000 is our most powerful single-phase air cleaner with a capacity of 1800m3/hr. It comprises an energy saving ECO-fan, a pre-filter, a HEPA H13 microfilter of 10m2, a filter indication lamp, and variable speed transmission to save energy consumption. It has the capability to clean air from hazardous particles as small as 0.3 micrometres, including both silica dusts and airborne viruses.
This is achieved through regularly cleaning the air to reduce the spread of particulate, making the machine a favourite for construction site work areas, as well as in their receptions, canteens, and changing facilities in light of the more recent Covid-19 situation.
Cleaned air can also be recirculated back into the room or exhausted via a hose to create a negative pressure environment. The robust machine's ergonomic design also makes it easy to carry and transport. Ultimately, the DC AirCube 2000 is an ideal complement to source extraction on construction sites and in high pedestrian traffic areas, where air can be constantly cleaned and recirculated.
Overall, we all know the dangers caused by activities such as drilling, sweeping, pouring, or grinding when fine dust becomes airborne and subsequently inhaled. That is why we've adopted a no compromise approach. All of our machines are manufactured to application Class H standard with a pre-filter and HEPA 13 filter to cover a wide range of applications, ensuring a healthier, cleaner working environment for those operating in the flooring industry.