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Dust problems in the workplace

Polvo en la industria

Dust is a common element in a work environment, however, its actual impact on work activities is often underestimated, since dust is erroneously thought to only aesthetically affect a workplace.

Dust is a harmful substance for health, and prolonged exposure to dust within a workplace can cause serious problems to the people who work in it.

Once the dust enters the body and accumulates, the risk of cancer and pneumoconiosis ceases to be latent, to become a real danger.

Dust is problematic in many ways, this is an unavoidable fact, so it’s necessary to take into account all preventive measures to reduce its damaging effects.

A dust free floor can be part of the prevention support.

What causes dust in the workplace?

There are many causes that can generate dust in warehouses and industrial buildings. Some of them are:

  • Whilst loading and unloading merchandise or during transportation preparations, vehicles bring new particles into the warehouse.
  • Consistent abrasive industrial activities such as chiseling, sawing, drilling and crushing materials, they all contribute to the appearance of harmful dust in the industrial environment.
  • Lack of cleaning in warehouses and industrial buildings considerably increases the amount of dust generated by previous activities, since the accumulations of harmful particles are not eliminated.

How to eliminate dust in storage rooms and warehouses?

The best way to eliminate dust in warehouses is through a ventilation system, which is responsible for eliminating particles suspended in the air, allowing the renewal of the facilities environment.

However, ventilation system aren’t infallible, so they must be complemented with traditional cleaning procedures.

Cleaning industrial warehouses, and storage rooms in general, is done by using manual and electro-mechanical equipment. Neutral chemicals are also used frequently.

Vacuum cleaners, mechanical sweepers, and floor scrubbers are also commonly used tools for this hygiene practice.

That being said, it becomes clear that industrial cleaning must be done frequently to remove any dust build-up.

Industrial safety risks.

Prolonged exposure to dust is the most serious risk to industrial safety. This is because the human body doesn’t have effective defenses to cope with the internal accumulations of foreign particles, which attack the respiratory and skin system.

In the industrial industry, silica dust is the most dangerous because it can lead to the development of silicosis, one of the most common diseases.

Risks with silica dust

This occurs when dust detaches from floors and concrete paving.

Amongst the diseases that dust produces are the following:

  • Pneumoconiosis: lung diseases among which you may find silicosis, asbestosis, aluminosis, siderosis, berylliosis, stenosis, etc.
  • Lung cancer.
  • Nasal cancer.
  • Respiratory irritation.
  • Allergies: asthma and alveolitis.
  • Respiratory infection: due to viruses, bacteria and fungi in dust clouds.
  • Intoxication: by traces of cadmium, lead or manganese floating in dust clouds.
  • Skin lesions: skin irritation and dermatosis.
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Risk of explosion: organic matter and solid powder metals in the air can be explosive.

Measures to minimize the risk of dust in industrial environments.

The most effective way to minimize the risk of activities causing dust is through moisture. In other words, abrasive methods must be carried out whilst using special machinery that eject moisture.

Also, in environments saturated with dust, it’s necessary to reduce the staff member’s exposure time.

An important recommendation is to wet floor surfaces before cleaning industrial buildings.

It’s essential that staff members have protective equipment, such as masks, goggles, masks, helmets, etc. In addition, there must be adequate facilities for personal hygiene.

It’s important to consider chemical treatments for concrete paving, since they can improve the floor’s hardness, as well as reduce the detachment of silica and cement dust, caused by the abrasive transit of heavy machinery.

A BECOSAN® treatment contributes notably to minimizing the industrial risk of dust, with its special formula it hardens and protects industrial building floors.

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