‘Tis the season of surf, sun, sand and….dust? Being a tradie in summer is hard enough – the extreme working temperatures, the constant sweat, and the awkward tan lines – without adding in the dangers of breathing in a tonne of dust from a dry worksite. Here’s how you can minimise your exposure to the dreaded dust this season.
Water it down
If you’re going to be working with methods and materials that create a lot of dust onsite, make sure that you use a constant stream of water to keep the dust out of the air and out of your lungs. Keep surfaces sprayed with water (particularly piles of sand or gravel) and use wet working methods. Be sure to clean equipment and work areas with a hose as often as you can to avoid those dangerous dust clouds.
If you’re working around dust, you should know better than anyone the importance of wearing the right protective gear. Ensure that you’ve got the right kind of respiratory protection, whether it’s a purpose-built mask or an air-purifying respirator, and keep your eyes protected with the right safety glasses. You should also be wearing gloves and overalls or a jacket that you can easily clean afterwards.
Keep it clean
Obviously you don’t want to be getting dust in your lunch so make sure that you’re cleaning everything up once you’ve finished a task involving a lot of dust. Even if you’ve been wearing all the gear, it’s important to wash your hands and face thoroughly when you’re done to avoid any health risks. You should also give your clothing and gear a good scrub afterwards, preferably on the jobsite so that you’re not bringing any contaminants home.
Give yourself some space
Wherever possible, when you’re working with materials that can cause a lot of dust, you should be working outdoors in an open area. The smaller and more enclosed the space, the more likely you are to breathe in harmful dust particles. So if you’re cutting anything that will have dust particles flying into the air, do it outdoors where there’s plenty of fresh air to dilute it.
Dust can be super dangerous if you breathe it in, and as a tradie, you’ll be exposed to it a lot more than the average person so make sure you stay safe!