Atmospheric dust is the reason for many disorders related to lungs. Pneumoconiosis is one such disease caused due to inhalation of dust. Dust monitoring done by organizations like sers.net.au is essential to prevent such occupational diseases. Let us see in detail why is dust monitoring important!
What is dust?
All types of inhaled clouds of dust are considered harmful; they just differ in the extent of harm. Some pose slight dangers to the lungs while some have very adverse effects on the respiratory system. Dust particles whose size is lesser than 5 microns are considered to be the most harmful ones. Asbestos, silica, diatomite, cotton dust, talc, sugar cane fiber, etc. are all harmful to lungs. The risk increases when they are present beyond a certain quantity. Sites such as www.smarte.org provide tools for analyzing the same.
Effects of dust
When you breathe in the air containing dust, most of the dust particles get trapped in the mucus coating inside your nose. The dust particles move up with the mucus to the throat and are either swallowed or coughed out. Those particles whose size is less than 5 microns move into the lungs and get caught in the lung tissues which may cause fibrosis in the course of time. The degree of fibrosis varies depending on the sensitivity of individuals, their age, exposure duration, dust concentration, etc.
Concrete, rocks, etc. contain silica. Inhaling too much of silica causes silicosis. Silicosis may, in turn, cause heart failure and other dangers such as tuberculosis.
Methods to control the negative effects
The following are the factors that are must for a successful strategy to control dust.
· Dust monitoring and evaluation
· Formulation of an effective control method
· Implementation of the control method
· Studying the results
The following methods can be used for the control of dust in workplaces.
· Right ventilation to supply dust free air.
· Drilling should be done wet and by using an exhaust system to collect dust
· Using water sprays while sawing, grinding, etc.
· Watering muck piles while moving, loading and dumping rocks.
· Making use of wetting processes in screening and crushing plants.
· Using alternative compounds instead of sand stone.
A few good practices
Harmful effects due to dust inhalation can be controlled to a large extent by following certain healthy practices by plants.
Operations which involve a lot of dust should be separated from the ones with less dust. Enclosing dusty machines and using an exhaust system to extract dust are also good measures. Tidy up of spillages by employing efficient housekeeping methods
Keep the surroundings damp by watering the roads and tracks
Strictly control the speed of vehicles near the plants and limit them to the assigned roads.
Cover dumping areas with vegetation as much as possible.
A lot of dust spread into the air during the unloading process. So water the loads before unloading them.
These practices if followed strictly would reduce the harm caused by dust. A dust monitoring expert can help in the efficient management of dust and thus safeguard the health of the employees and the community as a whole.