Has your organization taken the steps necessary to reduce exposure to respirable silica dust? This is a reminder that every company that works with concrete, stone, or other masonry materials must consider this. Here are answers to the top six questions.
1. Can you use tools from one brand and an attachment from a different brand?
Most tool brands have attachments that fit their tool(s) due to specific design elements of the tools (e.g., rotary hammer tube size variations, collar configuration on a grinder, etc.) Most attachments are brand specific. The exceptions are dust suction drilling attachments and universal collar dust shrouds.
2. Can a dust extractor (vacuum) from one brand be used with another brand of tools and attachments?
Yes, but you do need to be sure that these three requirements are met: 1) Minimum of 25 cubic feet per minute or greater of airflow per 1 inch of grinder wheel diameter, 2) Filter cleaning system (automatic or semi-automatic), and 3) 99 percent filtration filter (HEPA is preferred). Also, does a branded tool system require any other specification – refer to the appropriate Owner’s Manual.
3. What is the proper disposal procedure for concrete dust?
Every user who creates respirable silica dust must understand their responsibility in the collection and also disposal of silica dust. It’s highly recommended to use a fleece bag. These are usually multi-ply fabric bags that help manage air equilibrium and collect .3 microns or larger dust particles. It also contains a port-closing mechanism for containment after removing the bag from the vacuum canister’s port. Finally, it’s strong enough to withstand weight of dust collected and is not subject to tearing.
4. Will there be a special place for users to dispose of a full dust collection bag separate from a regular dumpster?
Take the bag (80 percent full) and place it in a standard garbage dumpster. Be careful that it’s not going to be exposed to potential damage if other items are placed in the same dumpster on top of it. The bag must not break open at any time.
5. Is there a limit for length of a vacuum hose?
Bosch dust extractors can be used with either a 10 foot hose (which comes with the unit) or with a 16 foot hose (sold separately). Beyond 16 foot the expected efficiency of the dust extractor decreases greatly. Users may have dust control performance issues beyond 16 feet.
6. What about jobsite dust from surrounding work areas? How can this be distinguished from cutting/grinding operations?
Dust generated in and around the jobsite must be compliant with the established control plan for that site. Anything levels that exceed the dust control plan should be reported immediately. It doesn’t matter who creates the dust, everyone must be safe from exposure.
Jim Bohn is director, strategic development – North America for Robert Bosch Tool Corporation. He is responsible for driving the creation and rollout of Bosch power tool products in the U.S. and Canada.