Top tips for a healthy workforce
Preventing dusts, fume and irritant gases from getting into the air is usually more effective, simpler, and cheaper, than controlling dust once it is in the air.
- Use water for wet techniques including cutting, grinding or blasting and for suppression on dusty roadways.
- Buy dust-reduced materials e.g. pellets, tablets, solutions or pastes and use pre-weighed material in sealed bags.
- Segregate – put dusty machinery in a separate room or automate processes.
- Carry out risk assessments
Further information, including regulations can be found on the For Employers page.
As an employee, make it part of your day to:
- Vacuum clean – don't use brushes or compressed air.
- Handle materials 'gently' – reduce the distance they fall or are thrown and reduce machine speed or power.
- Improve your work practices – don't drop material and avoid creating draughts.
- Control waste – use closed bags or containers, don't let wet waste dry out and remove it frequently from your workplace.
- Power tools – reduce grinding and sawing and ensure all equipment is maintained to a high standard.
- Keep machines clean.
- Use effective Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV).
- Use respiratory protective equipment (RPE) when required.
Don’t forget that once it is in the air it’s not only the dust you can see, it’s also the dust you can’t see that’s a problem. The dust particles that can get deep into the lungs are not usually visible to the naked eye. Special lighting techniques can reveal these dusts to us - often we don’t even know they are there.
You can find more advice related to your specific industry by looking at the COSHH Essential sheets.
Other available from the
- Health surveillance for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica - G404
- Controlling exposure to stonemasonry dust - HSG201