In a stonemasonry in North Yorkshire a large amount of airborne dust was seen. This dust contained the harmful substance respirable crystalline silica (RCS).
Checks showed that the level of RCS was very close to the workplace exposure limit.
Dust extraction was in place, but this was inadequate and the workers were relying on dust masks. The COSHH assessments were also poor.
HSE inspectors made several visits and helped managers improve the situation. As a result the company installed better local exhaust ventilation systems and a new wet cutting machine.
Dry cutting has been reduced by 60% and moved to a separate work area.
After these new measures were introduced, checks showed that the airborne dust levels had been reduced, so now the employees are working in a safer environment.