Most people likely don’t think of dust as a serious hazard. However, most people don’t have to worry about dust beyond the kind in their homes. Construction contractors, however, must keep in mind the significance of proper dust control Southern California for their work. Doing so is part of being environmentally responsible and respectful toward the local community.
The Hazards of Construction Dust
Construction dust differs greatly from common dust, originating as residue from working construction materials like wood, concrete, mortar and stone. These fine dust particles are a strong irritant for most body tissues, especially silica dust from concrete and certain kinds of stone. Moreover, when inhaled, silica dust can cause a variety of respiratory diseases, many of which aren’t immediately apparent until after prolonged exposure. Construction dust also damages equipment by abrasion, clogging engines and air intake systems or fire hazards.
Who Is at Risk?
Construction workers face the most direct danger from exposure to particulate matter produced this way, but the harm isn’t restricted to the work site. Wind can carry dust particles across long distances, and surface runoff can be contaminated by construction dust as well. The former introduces the above hazards to residents within the local area, while the latter pollutes aquatic ecosystems and potable water as well as contributing to acid rain. Dust pollution also depletes nutrients in soil, harming both ecosystems and agriculture.
Controlling Construction Dust
Multiple methods of dust control exist that construction sites can implement, fortunately. These include controlled water application (with due attention to ensuring no excess runoff) and sweeping equipment to clean off dusty surfaces, wind barriers to impede the spread of dust and soil cover and stabilization to mitigate damage done to topsoil.
Federal, state and local legislation highlights the responsibilities of construction companies in keeping dust hazards under control. When dust control is handled responsibly, the health and safety of workers and residents alike is preserved.