RR878 - Levels of respirable dust and respirable crystalline silica at construction sites

The purpose of this pilot study was to assess the potential for inadvertent exposure of the public to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) from construction activities.

The study assessed the respirable dust (RD) from, demolition, block cutting, road building, general construction activities and city centre air from 13 visits to 7 sites. In total, 48 samples from the construction activities and 11 city centre air samples, for comparison, were collected.

The results obtained for RD and RCS were generally very low. Only 10 % of results (from two sites) for RCS were above 0.01 mg.m-3, which is 10 % of the current Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) for RCS. The majority of visits showed evidence of some transport of RCS across the site and potentially into public areas. The main crystalline components of the city centre air sample were generally the same as the components of the samples taken at the construction sites.

This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.

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Updated 2021-04-23