Stay­ing safe in the face of dan­ger­ous haz­ardous dust

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - DUST AND FUME -

When peo­ple think of con­struc­tion sites, they do not think of the danger of con­struc­tion dust. How­ever, it is a very com­mon cause of a range of res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases, re­minds Nil­fisk.

Con­struc­tion dust can cause se­ri­ous dam­age to your health and some types of dust can even­tu­ally kill you. Reg­u­larly breath­ing in these harm­ful dusts over a long pe­riod of time can cause life-threat­en­ing dis­eases to form on your lungs. The dan­gers of as­bestos dust are well doc­u­mented, while sil­i­co­sis is an emerg­ing health is­sue across the globe.

Ev­ery year, 5,000- 6,000 peo­ple in New Zealand are hos­pi­talised after be­ing ex­posed to air­borne con­tam­i­nants at work. Work­ers in the con­struc­tion sec­tor are 20x more likely to die of ex­po­sure to harm­ful air­borne sub­stances than from a work­place ac­ci­dent.

While there are reg­u­la­tions around ex­po­sure to as­bestos and sil­ica dust in the work­place, HEPA (High Ef­fi­ciency Par­tic­u­late Air) fil­ter in­dus­trial vac­uum clean­ers are of­ten pre­ferred since they can com­pletely col­lect and re­tain dust with­out dis­pers­ing it back into the en­vi­ron­ment. Meth­ods like com­pressed air blow- downs and dry sweep­ing are dis­cour­aged since they cre­ate dust clouds and only trans­fer dust par­tic­u­late from one area to an­other.

Nil­fisk says it leads the in­dus­try in de­vel­op­ing In­dus­trial Vac­uum Sys­tems (IVS) to ex­tract dusts that are haz­ardous to in­hale such as As­bestos, Sil­ica, Lead and Mould (Nil­fisk VHS42 S2 and S3 H – Class).

The H- class cer­ti­fied vac range from Nil­fisk al­lows the safe re­place­ment of the ab­so­lute fil­ter ( bag-in, bag- out sys­tem) with­out get­ting in con­tact with the haz­ardous dust.

Nil­fisk is also an in­dus­try leader in the devel­op­ment of IVS for com­bustible (ex­plo­sive) dust that are IECEx and ATEX cer­ti­fied, de­signed to prevent the trig­ger­ing of any source of ig­ni­tion, mak­ing vac­uum clean­ing op­er­a­tions safe.

All as­bestos vac­uum clean­ers must have a HEPA fil­ter­ing sys­tem that is ca­pa­ble of trap­ping and re­tain­ing 99.97 per­cent of all monodis­persed par­ti­cles of 0.3 mi­crons in di­am­e­ter.

A HEPA fil­ter is re­quired for col­lect­ing most toxic and haz­ardous dusts.

The HEPA fil­tra­tion for heavy in­dus­trial vac­u­ums is 99.999 per­cent ef­fi­cient, down to and in­clud­ing 0.3 mi­crons. In Nil­fisk in­dus­trial vac­uum sys­tems, the HEPA fil­ter re­tains 99.97 per­cent down to and in­clud­ing 0.3 mi­crons.

For ap­pli­ca­tions that re­quire even finer fil­tra­tion, Nil­fisk vac­u­ums are avail­able with an ULPA (Ul­tra Low Pen­e­tra­tion Air) fil­ter. It re­tains 99.999 per­cent of all par­ti­cles, down to and in­clud­ing 0.12 mi­crons. A HEPA fil­ter is the fi­nal stage of fil­tra­tion. Be­cause of the haz­ardous na­ture of some of the ma­te­ri­als col­lected by Nil­fisk vac­u­ums, each HEPA fil­ter is in­di­vid­u­ally DOP-tested to ver­ify that it meets the proper spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

John Too­lis, Na­tional Sales Man­ager for Nil­fisk sums up why the high­est stan­dard de­sign and man­u­fac­turer of the Nil­fisk IVS range is so im­por­tant, “At the end of the day, we want to see peo­ple go home to their fam­ily. Our pri­mary con­cern is safety.”


Work­safe NZ iden­ti­fies as­bestos ex­po­sure as the lead­ing cause of death from work­place re­lated dis­ease. It is es­ti­mated the death toll from as­bestos- re­lated dis­ease in New Zealand will con­tinue to climb for decades to come, de­spite a ban on im­ports of build­ing ma­te­ri­als con­tain­ing the toxic min­eral.

The peak of as­bestos-re­lated dis­ease in New Zealand will not be reached un­til some­time be­tween 2030 and 2040. This is due to the long wait be­tween ex­po­sure and dis­ease – in some cases up to 55 years – and be­cause the pro­duc­tion of as­bestos- con­tain­ing build­ing ma­te­ri­als in New Zealand did not cease un­til 1987.2


Touted as the ‘new as­bestos’, res­pirable crys­talline sil­ica is the lead­ing cause of sil­i­co­sis, the most com­mon oc­cu­pa­tional lung dis­ease in the world.

Sil­ica, also known as sil­i­con diox­ide (SiO2), is nat­u­rally form­ing and can be found in well over 90 per­cent of the earth’s crust and al­most 40 per­cent of all com­mon min­er­als, mak­ing it a preva­lent com­pound in any work­place en­vi­ron­ment where there is air­borne dust. Crys­talline sil­ica is a form of sil­ica.

Sil­ica dust is cre­ated when ma­te­ri­als con­tain­ing sil­ica are cut, ground, drilled or other­wise dis­turbed. If the sil­ica par­ti­cles in this dust are of a crys­talline struc­ture and are small enough (known as res­pirable crys­talline sil­ica or RCS), they can be breathed deep into the lungs and cause dam­age.

Sil­ica is a nat­u­ral sub­stance found in con­crete, bricks, rocks, stone, sand and clay. The dust that can be breathed in is not al­ways vis­i­ble to the naked eye.

Nil­fisk, con­sid­ered a leader in dust con­trol, has a full line of vac­u­ums well- equipped to help you safely col­lect sil­ica dust and keep it away from your crew.­­sources/Safety-Blog/dust/ http://www.nzher­­ti­cle.cfm?c_id=1&ob­jec­tid=11658866


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